Friday, April 01, 2011

Meet Me in Eternity

A few years back I was introduced to a young man. This young man was tough. He carried an edge about himself that made him seem unapproachable and closed off. But through the introduction he had no choice but to talk to me. And what I discovered was that this young man had a soul that I wanted to know better.

Unfortunately this was my one only interaction with him. Shortly after our initial meeting, he passed away. It was a violent passing. Part of his tough exterior was often met with confrontation. Some of it I am sure he instigated. And I am sure there were other times he was challenged by someone wanting to prove their toughness. His life was filled with many evils and bad decisions. But I never got to challenge the soul of the young man I met.

I did attend his memorial service. His former junior high youth pastor did his memorial service, even though the young man had not attended church, or a youth gathering since junior high. Even in junior high his attendance was rare, skating and girls were a higher calling.

I spoke with the youth pastor about the young man and their connection. The youth pastor said it had been over 10 years since they crossed paths. He remembers the young man as a tough junior higher that fought often and picked on the church kids. He was difficult to handle and had to be disciplined frequently.

He continued to share that one Wednesday evening the young man, then a junior higher, was touched in a meaningful way. On that evening this tough, rowdy young man prayed the prayer: allowing Jesus to live in his heart and to guide and lead him. The youth pastor, being a good Baptist, felt it necessary to baptize all the junior higher students that made the decision to follow Jesus. They were baptized that same night.

During the memorial service the youth pastor shared with the family and friends in attendance the decision that young man made so many years ago. The youth pastor shared that there is a hope for life after this. And to ensure that life continues after death requires a voluntarily surrender of self to Jesus; a life allowing Jesus to guide and lead; a life affirming and believing that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world.

I am grateful that I don’t have to do the judging. It is not up to me to determine the eternal state of someone’s soul. Our God is a grace filled God. He calls us His children whom He loves. He desires a relationship with all of us. I am praying that when the young man and I meet the on the other side I can finally get to know the young man I met and his incredible soul.

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