Today I found out someone I grew up with died... She was my age... It should not have happened. Anyone who has had someone they've known from childhood, who is the same age pass away knows, it kind of rocks you. It doesn't matter if you were close friends, ran in the same circles or only attended a class or two together, we're young, this isn't supposed to happen. It's sad, it's scary and it's difficult to process. To Andrea's family and loved ones, I'm so sorry for your loss.
I found out Andrea passed away via social media... Just an Instagram post with the caption "you will be missed..." A few friends and I were in a text conversation to confirm it was a passing rather than a move to another City. After the confirmation came, one friend said her heart was breaking a bit, that she could have done more, should have encouraged more and gone out of her way. Another friend said we can't beat ourselves up about these things... I already knew I'd be writing some of my thoughts about this and my response to that conversation was the match to the fire.
My response is "I agree a bit with both of you... " We cannot take on the responsibility of what happened, we may not have been able to change anything... BUT Godly sorrow worketh repentance (2 Corinthians 7:20) and we need not refuse that work. I think it's a danger of our current culture that we are so hyper sensitive to offence and judgement that it dampens our own consciences... We find "negative vibes" so distasteful that we can easily forget the sting of the negative is sometimes what keeps us on a better, smarter path... Someone invented shoes because they experienced the negative of walking on sharp rocks one too many times... Don't always automatically avoid the negative, the pain, experience it, let it teach you, allow it to change you.
This weekend we had a special guest speaker at our church, Lee Stoneking. All weekend long he repeated "do what you feel when you feel it even if it doesn't make sense." He told a story of a missionary to an Indian tribe... She had worked with them, preached to them and poured her heart into the people for years with little change. A chief stepped on a thorn and his foot got infected, sending him into a downward health spiral that was leading to his death... The missionary came to him one day and saw the thorn barely breaking the skin on the bottom of his foot, she approached him, knelt on her knees, lifted his foot to her mouth and pulled the torn out with her teeth. The chief recovered and turned the heart of the people saying that a woman that would take the most precious part of her body, humble herself to that level to help him just be lead by Devine love and he wanted to follow a God that would cause that. What struck me about this story is it wasn't a moment of what we would call "ministry" that lead to the miracle of a whole tribe turning to God, it wasn't glamorous or even emotion filled, it was probably something she didn't really want to do, she was just doing what she knew to be good at the time, trying to help with no guarantee of acceptance or improvement. And I'm reminded that "those that know to do good and do it not, to them it is sin." (James 4:17)
The fact is we all know we've only regretted not doing the good we've felt to do. Even at times we do the good we are impressed to do and get nothing of positive feedback, we know we've done what God wanted us to, or what He would have done if He were there in flesh and we gain from knowing alone... We feel good that we've done good... The worst I've said to myself is "at least I know I did the right thing..." So, I've never received nothing from the doing.
Since we are supposed to be His hands and feet, the salt, the light (Matthew 5:13-14,) I say let this passing work in us and change us, let it call us to be better, to be doers of the Word, not hearers only (James 1:22.) Let us remember this negative feeling the next time we find it inconvenient to pass along encouragement or a kind word (1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:13, Romans 12:10.)Let us remember this may be someone's last day next time we don't want to take the time, to go out of our way and let us do! Let us remember it could be our last day, none of us are promised a tomorrow, let us do the good we know to do, whatever it may be (James 4:14, Ecclesiastes 1:2, Psalm 144:4, Psalm 90:12, 1 Peter 1:24 Ephesians 5:15-17)