This past weekend my beloved wife was delivered some absolutely heartbreaking news. The husband of one of her friends died unexpectedly from a heart attack after coming home from work on Friday. The news was a shock to us both. He was relatively young. I’d guess around 40, if that. And he seemed to be the picture of health. He leaves behind a loving wife he’s known for more than 20 years, and four beautiful children ranging in age from 7 years to 7 months. I can only imagine the devastation they are experiencing.
I will say that it’s been more than a little unsettling to acknowledge all of the similarities between our two families. Not the least being the fact that he was an African American man around my age, with four children whose ages mirror nearly exactly the ages of our own four youngest. Our wives were planning to get our two families together so that he and I would finally get a chance to meet. *sigh*
Naturally, the desire to pray is stirred in many of us. We want to pray that she, her children and his extended family might find comfort and consolation in this difficult time. And so, I did. I stopped what I was doing, and I prayed for them.
Of course, the topic of prayer got me to wondering… how many times have we said to someone, “I will pray for you” only to find that we never set aside the time to actually pray? I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve done it. And I am pretty sure that this is true for a good number of other people as well. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not saying we were misleading, that we had a lack of good intentions or that perhaps our statement was insincere. But the reality is that circumstances are often cited as the reason for not praying in that moment, when in truth, that moment may be the only one we’ll have.
It’s very sobering to think about the frailty of life and the idea that a mere second can separate life from death. So when it comes to prayer, don’t let your gesture become an empty promise or just some nice thing to say to someone who’s hurting. Instead, let it motivate you to action in the moment, that we might take advantage of every moment we are fortunate enough to be given.
So please join me in praying for Colleen Johnson and her family…