It’s All About How You Finish

Ready … Set … Go!

I’m sure that’s how this young man felt as he was finishing up high school.  He was set to enter a top-notch college, and then onto one of the best law schools.  After all, his father was a partner at a well known law firm in the city.

He was destined to join him.  Father and son, working side-by-side.

Graduation from college and law school eventually came, but with maybe not quite the best grades he could’ve gotten.  Because he discovered after high school that living away from home was really fun.  And because of that he spent too much time partying with his friends instead of studying in the library.

But he graduated, and that’s all that really mattered.  He’s now off to fulfill the “American Dream,” and he’s moving fast.  His job is waiting, and he truly believes he’s going to make a name for himself.

He starts his job and works hard, at least at first.  But after awhile the lure of his college party lifestyle begins to beckon once again.  His billable hours start to slip.  He arrives late to the office in the mornings, and often leaves early.  Warning glances come from his dad, but he’s not worried.  He’s their golden child, after all.

However after awhile he begins to get bored with his partying lifestyle too.  All the beautiful women he’s been dating seem to be pressing him to marry them.  Certainly they just want a piece of his inheritance, that’s for sure.  Yet he eventually proposes to a young woman, figuring it couldn’t hurt.  Maybe having a wife and starting a family is what’s been missing in his life?

After a couple years they give birth to their first child, a beautiful daughter.  And the young attorney truly feels he has finally found true love.  She’s his bright shining star – he would do absolutely anything for her.

2 Corinthians 1_10Yet now he and his wife aren’t getting along too well.  She’s complaining about missing all the times out with her girlfriends, and the expensive trips she and her husband used to take.  Finally she asks for a divorce.

The judge grants split custody of their daughter.  The young attorney hates it.  He misses her dreadfully when she’s spending time with his ex-wife.  So when she’s not at his house he begins to deaden his pain with increased alcohol and drugs.  Life is just too lonely without her around.

Then one day the telephone rings and he receives news that turns his world upside-down, filling him with sorrow and pain more intense than anything he has ever experienced.

His precious daughter has died from a severe reaction to a nut allergy.  She’d eaten a cookie a friend had given her while she was outside playing at his ex-wife’s house.  She didn’t know the cookie contained nuts.  By the time his ex-wife realized what had happened and called 9-1-1, it was too late.

His beautiful little girl – the only thing that really gave him joy these days – was dead…

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Death…  It seems so final, doesn’t it?  And, unfortunately for most people, death does seem like the end.  Hopes and dreams are shattered.

I still remember getting the call from my friend the day the young attorney’s daughter died.  I knew him as I used to work at the same lawfirm a few years back.  During that time I had witnessed for myself how out-of-sync this young man’s life seemed.

However when I worked at that lawfirm, I had yet to know Jesus.  So while I worked there, I thought of him as just another rich kid who had been given everything, yet still couldn’t find peace.  He was way too spoiled.

Actually I had little respect for him – period…

But when my friend called me on the day of his daughter’s death a couple years later I was a different person.  I was now a daughter of the King of Kings, and found myself filled with a deep love and compassion for this young man.

After all, my husband and I had lost children, too.  Our kids had been younger than his daughter; yet I felt deep inside many of the heartfelt hurts he was experiencing.  And I remembered how different it could have been after we lost our 2 kids if I had never come to know how deeply and completely Jesus loved me.

Because I now had the full realization that I was going to see my boys again when I died.  I just didn’t hope I’d see them, I knew I would.

Psalm 119_50And I also knew this young man didn’t have that hope.

When my friend called me that day she was frantic.  She was his personal secretary at the time, and was so afraid this catastrophe was going to totally push him over the edge.  She worried he was going to overdose and kill himself.

My friend had previously attended the memorial services for our 2 little boys that left this earth way too early.  She had mentioned to me many times since then how she just didn’t understand how we were coping so well.  I tried to explain my new faith in Jesus, but she never seemed to understand.  She had been raised in a strict Catholic home, where anything to do with God was a list of “do’s” and “don’ts”.  She never read the Bible on her own – she relied on what the priests told her.

So on this particular day, she asked me if I would please go with her to the funeral service for her boss’ little girl.  She felt that since the attorney knew me – and knew about us losing 2 children – perhaps it might help him?

I agreed, and she told me she would let me know the date and time.

The service was held in a gorgeous large Catholic church, which was filled with prominent attorneys and others with large bankbooks.  My heart broke, because I didn’t hear anything during the service about Jesus.

I prayed continually as we sat:  Lord, will I have a chance to talk to him after the service?

Afterwards there was a short reception.  We stayed a little while, but I didn’t see the young attorney.  So we decided to leave.

Yet as we exited the church, there he was, standing over to the side of the building.  He was leaning against a wall, and just looked dead inside.  My friend grabbed me by the arm and pulled me in his direction.

I prayed inwardly on our way over, and when we got there out came these words:  “It’s going to be okay.  You can make it.”  He just looked at me with kind of a befuddled look on his face.

A couple weeks later, my friend asked me to meet her for lunch.  She was still working for this attorney; and stated he hadn’t been doing well.  His drug and alcohol consumption were getting worse and worse.  He just couldn’t seem to cope with anything.  The pain and grief were too intense.

I ended up bringing him a handwritten card filled with encouraging words and Scripture telling of Jesus and His love for him.  I also included a cassette testimony from my husband Gary about how he had been able to overcome his heartache after losing our precious boys.

Since I was still a relatively young Christian, I felt totally out of my league when I arrived at his office.  However I comforted him as best I could, and handed him the card and cassette.  I asked him to please listen to it when he could, and he nodded.

I never saw that young man again, and my friend ended up quitting her job a few weeks later.  I’d like to think he eventually turned his life over to the Savior…

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Text placeholderThe young attorney above had been raised with access to everything money could buy.  He drove the nicest cars, ate at the finest restaurants, and vacationed on dream islands.  But he still found himself getting bored with life.  His choice was to bury himself in booze and drugs.

I, on the other hand, was raised scrimping on most things.  Wearing hand-me-downs was often what I had to wear to school.  Vacations consisted of camping at a local state park for the weekend in our family’s tent.  I never even got on an airplane until I moved out of the house.

Yet God often uses devastating events in our lives to bring people together.  The young attorney and I had nothing in common until the day he lost his daughter.  Yet suddenly there was a bond between us.  And, even though he responded in a totally different way than I did after losing our children, I knew in my heart (and my friend felt it too) that this man saw something in me that he felt he could trust.  He just didn’t understand exactly what it was.

Friends, please remember that God never wastes what you’ve gone through.  Even though I hadn’t been a Christian for very long, I prayed a lot for that young man.  And I truly believe that what I said and wrote to him was what I was supposed to say, because it says in Philippians 4:13 that we need to trust God when He places us in certain situations, because He Himself gives us the strength to do what needs to be done.

I read a quote not long ago which stated:  “The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint” (author unknown).  How true that is!

Please remember:  It doesn’t matter how we started out in life – it’s all about how we finish.  So trust God that He has you right where He wants you, and let others see the light of Jesus in you, too.

 

 

 


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