Yesterday morning, I realized again how fragile and precious life is. That is truly is a vapor, a mist that “appears for a little while, then vanishes away” (James 4:14, NIV).
I usually post the happy-go-lucky aspects of my life. The beautiful things, the precious gifts from God that make my world go round.However extremely difficult it is to see the beauty in pain, though, that’s what I did yesterday. If you don’t want to hunt for the beauty in my raw, emotional writing, don’t feel compelled. It’s basically a piece of my soul on paper (or, the internet, rather!), so it’s pretty messy!!
But let me tell you one thing – there is nothing more beautiful than a life well lived.
He was a young man who lived in Oregon. A photographer, an ALERT man, friend, brother, son. A man who loved Christ “deeply, passionately, absolutely.” Wow. Two minutes. Maybe forty-five seconds, and his life was over. He slipped from a rock while taking a picture of the Rogue River, and he was forever in the arms of his Savior.
I never met him. I had never even heard his name until about 24 hours ago. But Joshua Eddy changed my life in a powerful way. He reminded me that life is short. And how precious. How significant.
When I first hear his story, my breath catches in my throat. He was my age.
As I read his blog and his facebook page, tears begin to blur my vision. What an incredible man of God he was. He shared his heart and his life on the pages of his blog. I definitely encourage you to go read it. He would be the first to say that he wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot. But others have said that he “lived and died to glorify God.”
And it was enough.
I brush tears from my face as I keep reading his blog, his facebook, his story, his life. Then I read something that takes my breath away. “March 5, 1993-May 5, 2012.” Josh’s birthday. My mind immediately flies to March 4, 1993. My birthday. He was one day younger than me.
I physically feel the impact, the size of that. My mind spins as his testimony takes on a whole different connotation. What if it had been my soul that had been called into eternity on May 5, 2012?
I begin to think about everything Josh is missing in this life. He’ll never look at another sunset, the ending of a perfect day. He’ll never touch the shutter button or feel the familiar weight of his camera in his hands. He’ll never wrestle his brothers again, never kiss a girl, never graduate from college, never hold his own child in his strong arms.
It is hard to grasp. All we see is the life he can’t have. I stare into unknown eternity and I look back and grieve about the future he could have had. It’s so frail, so human of me. My faith strains, my trust questions. And then I see the face of my Savior. Our Savior. His love is unconditional, His plan is hard to understand, but perfect.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Josh and I loved the same God. We looked at the face of the same Savior, the One who gave Himself for us. (Ephesians 5:2) I cling to the same cross as millions do. I may not understand completely, I may never understand. But I know that God’s ways are perfect. The death of a nineteen year old young man made me realize this yet again.
What kind of life do I think I’m living? Do I live unabashedly, completely sold out for Christ? What would people remember about me? Would they be able to point at my life and say, “there’s a woman who lived and died to glorify God”?
Is this true?
My heart and mind aren’t quite through processing the enormity of Joshua Eddy’s life and death. I know few details about the kind of man he was, I know nothing about his past, but I know where he is now. I know what he left behind.
I know that he challenged me to live fully. Completely, joyfully, incredibly sold out for my Lord. Overwhelmingly in love with Christ, no matter what the cost, with no shred of self left to contend with. We’re called to live perfectly; few do. But I know the source unlimited strength; strength to try. Christ.
I emailed Josh’s mom to ask about sharing his story on my blog. As you can see, she said yes. =) And then she encouraged me by saying, “Follow hard after God, Hannah.” Follow hard. This is my heart’s cry. To love with all my soul. All my heart. All my mind. This is my earnest prayer – for myself, and for you.
A few months ago, Joshua wrote, “To surrender a precious dream is a fearful thing, but to pursue anything but the full measure of the glory of God’s love is a wasted life.”
A wasted life.
What would people say about you?
Josh, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your life feels short, but it wasn’t wasted. To see the glory of the love of God revealed in your testimony is an incredible gift that few have given. I can’t wait to get to heaven and meet you for real – to see your grin and be able to tell you what your love for Christ meant to me. I never met you, but I miss you. Thank you for the lessons you taught me. It was worth every second. Now I know my Savior more fully.