November as we know is the month of the Holy Souls. I've already had a stark reminder of the fragility of our mortality and the utter dependence upon God’s grace with the shocking news last week of the sudden death of a second cousin of mine.
His name is Jason. Aged 44 with two children (his daughter’s 12th birthday was the same day as the funeral) he was instantly killed by a speeding car whilst walking his dog. The driver confessed he was using his mobile phone at the time!
Amidst the shock of the news I spoke on the phone to Jason’s father. As you'd expect he was still distraught even after the funeral had taken place. And amidst the searing pain of loss and devastating impact of the incident upon so many (the driver has a young family too) my first cousin shared something remarkable with me.
He told me the father of the driver had the incredible courage and humility to attend the funeral and beg forgiveness for his son’s actions, which led to this awful loss of life. He wasn’t making any excuses...he just (I suppose) was seeking some gesture of mercy that he as a father and grandfather of the other family might vicariously convey to them on their (the victim’s family) behalf. So often when Jesus performed His miracles he would say “your faith has saved you.”
I think this poor man’s own heartache was consoled by the acceptance of his plea by my cousin (the victim’s father). Maybe it was a unique exchange only possible between two fathers in deep pain. But one thing is for sure as fathers that mercy from the Heavenly Father showered upon them will ripple outwards in to both devastated families and in time turn acute sadness and pain in to bearable sorrow by virtue of the shared Christian Faith.
So please keep these poor families in your prayers and remember Jason especially this month that he may have eternal peace.
One final thought which this encounter has reminded me of is that; “Humility simply means being as interested in other people as you are interested in yourself. … You’ve heard it before: humility doesn’t mean thinking less of yourself. It just means thinking of yourself less.”