When I got the call at 3:30am Sunday morning, I was disoriented and confused.  “Linda, this is John,” he said.  Then he spoke three garbled words that I didn’t understand.  My mind raced.  It was a local number calling.  I don’t know a John was my first thought.  Yet, this man sounded really strange and he knew my name.  I hung up the phone.  He called again.  My mind raced.  Who could know my name that I don’t know.  He is either inebriated or very distressed.  Now wide awake, I could not get back to sleep, even though I had not been able to get to asleep until 12:30am. 

After about 20 minutes, I realized that Kim’s husband was John and my brain was able to decipher the three garbled words, “Don’t hang up.”  I resolved that should he call back I would answer.  Still not able to sleep, I got up to go to the bathroom.  The phone rang again.  But there was no way that I could get back to the phone in time.  He didn’t leave a message.

Still unsure of the circumstances, I didn’t think that I should call him back for many reason. The most pressing was that the Special Gathering choir was singing at a mission’s conference at a local church and I was preaching.  It had been a full day on Saturday with choir commitments in the morning and Special Gathering in Vero.  I had gotten to bed after midnight.  Now, I had to get up at 5am.  I also reasoned that if I were supposed to speak to him, I wouldn’t have been in the bathroom when he called.  He didn’t leave a message.

At 7:30am, he reached me and told me that Kim had died in the night.  This was a young woman who had no history of physical illness, except mild seizures.  She had been a volunteer with Special Gathering for about a year. 

Naturally, regret filled me as I spoke to her distraught husband.  What if’s crowded my brain as we shared this moment of profound grief.  No.  Neither her husband nor I were responsible for her death.  He poured out his remorse.  He didn’t know that she was sick.  He was angry that he didn’t wake up if she were seizing. 

There are times in our lives and ministry when regrets reign supreme.  But we must not allow regret for a life gone to overshadow the promise that the Lord has given to us regarding eternal life.  There are some things that are taken out of our hands.  There are some things that we cannot control.  These will hit us in the middle of the night or early in the morning, as we do our van route.  Nevertheless, regret must not become a controlling factor in our lives.  The hope of the resurrection must be the issue that consumes us night or day. 

Kim is now with the Father.  Her pain and suffering are over.  She is a new person in Him.  The promise of her new life is what has overtaken her.  This must be our focal point remembering her life.  It must not be regrets of our own failings and short comings but the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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