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A Message from Mom

“Why would the Lord allow a Godly young man to be ‘knocked out of commission’ when there are already so few of them?” An honest question, asked by a young father who came to visit Peter in the hospital during the early weeks of his coma.
I’m sure many in Fort Worth were asking the very question three weeks ago when another 17-year old young man, Daniel Heinrich, was struck and killed by a drunk driver while on his way home from sharing the gospel in downtown Fort Worth on a Sunday night. This was a great blow to our sister churches in Fort Worth: two Godly young men, Daniel and Peter, felled as they traveled toward ministry. Though Daniel and Peter did not know each other personally, they had many mutual friends among our community of believers – teenagers who marveled and grieved at the two events, so close together.

I can’t say that I know all the reasons the Lord would allow these two accidents to happen, both so near in vicinity and timing and circumstances to the other. But I call to mind a story that gives me great hope. In Through Gates of Splendor, Elisabeth Elliot tells of the martyrdom of five godly young men on the same day, her husband Jim Elliott and four other missionaries who were speared to death along the banks of the Curaray River, deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle. What a loss to the kingdom! Had they been protected from harm, one wonders, what amount of good might they have done for the cause of missions, the kingdom of God, and for their own children and grandchildren?

But events of the past fifty years may help us not to second guess the Lord on such matters. Ask almost any retired missionary if he or anyone on his field of service landed there because of the influence of these five men. In the aftermath of Elliot’s martyrdom, thousands of young people, now elderly and in retirement, were inspired to join him and his friends in the cause of Christ, adding their own sacrificial labor the collective centuries of service to the Lord. Even in the present generation, no small number serve Christ on the mission field in part because of the sacrifice made by Elliot and his friends. Heaven only will reveal the fruit that multiplied throughout history from their deaths.

For the Godly man, neither his life, nor his life circumstances are ever “wasted.” Not for Peter, and certainly not for Daniel. May the young people who have known these two be inspired to life-long service by their examples!

Further, think of the comfort to us parents, knowing that these two young men belong undoubtedly to Christ. Without a doubt, these two have lived more abundantly in the 17 or 18 years they’ve been given than many do in 70 years and more.  Life must be lived well, every moment we are given, because no one knows how long he or she will have. How could this be shown any more clearly than through these circumstances?
Finally, as my dear husband reminds me, no matter how long we have to go without Peter’s smile and fellowship, no matter how long life’s sufferings last, if we stay the course and trust and obey God in the old-fashioned way, Heaven will open to us as an eternal, beautiful day. On that day, our suffering will only seem to have lasted five minutes.

“When we shall come home and enter to the possession of our Brother’s fair kingdom, and when our heads shall find the weight of the eternal crown of glory, and when we shall look back to pains and sufferings, then shall we see life and sorrow to be less than one step or stride from a prison to glory; and that our little inch of time—suffering is not worthy of our first night’s welcome home to heaven.” ~Samuel Rutherford, “The Loveliness of Christ”

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  John 12:24


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