God said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. ~ Exodus 33:14.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. ~ Proverbs
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh
me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in
the paths of righteousness for His namesake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the
presence of my enemies. Thou annointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall
follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. ~ Psalm 23
As I write this, my heart is heavy and I pray that your hearts
will be comforted in knowing that this is not the end for Matt, but rather the beginning of a brand new life, a life eternal
with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Our hearts are filled with sadness at the loss of a son, a grandson,
a brother, a friend, a neighbor, but it is also a time of rejoicing because another believer has made his way home and
is now safe with God. Psalm 23 tells us that God wants to restore our soul and bring our hearts back to the way they
were before Matt's accident. But how is that possible at a time like this? God in His wondrous wisdom created
us in three parts; body, soul and spirit. Our body is the shell we are given while we're here on earth and our spirit
lives on for all eternity. Matt, as we knew him, may be gone; but the part of him that we all loved so much, the part
that made him the special person he was, his soul, lives on in our hearts. YOUR soul may hold brokenness, hurt and sadness,
but if you allow Him, God will restore your soul and bring healing to those broken places as you see reminders of Matt in
not only his relatives, but in the things that Matt did and was a part of. Perhaps a certain facial expression or a
smile that is just like his, a special moment the two of you shared, or something that he did that is a wonderful memory.
God will wash His love over you and seemingly, in an instant, your soul will be renewed. You will find a grin on your
face, and you will find amazing strength in Him to get you through the days that lie ahead.
No one really knows what
awaits us when we take our final breath, yet somehow we imagine a light that becons us like a bright morning star. As
beautiful and pleasant as it is to come in off the crowded streets and highways to a home filled with warmth and light, how
much more beautiful it must be to enter into the very presence of God. This is the same promise and the same image that
Jesus used when he said, "In my Father's house there are many mansions, If it were not so, I would have told you".
At death we are as close to God as the newborn baby held in its mother's arms. We return to the source, and we are home
"Imagine you and the Lord Jesus are walking down the road together. For much of the way, the Lord's footprints
go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying the pace. But your footprints are a disorganized stream of zigzags,
starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures, and returns. For much of the way, it seems to go like this, but gradually
your footprints come more in line with the Lord's, soon paralleling, His consistently, you and Jesus are walking as true friends!
This seems perfect, but then an interesting thing happens. Your footprints that once etched the sand next to Jesus'
are now walking precisely in His steps. Inside His larger footprints are your smaller ones, you and Jesus are becoming
one. This goes on for many miles, but gradually you notice another change. The footprints inside the large footprints
seem to grow larger. Eventually they disappear altogether. There is only one set of footprints. They have
become one. This goes on for a long time, but suddently the second set of footprints is back. This time it seems
even worse! Zigzags all over the place. Stops, starts, gashes in the sand, a variable mess of prints. You
are amazed and shocked. Your dream ends. Now you pray, 'Lord, I understand the first scene, with zigzags and fits.
I was a new Christian: I was just learning. But You walked on through the storm and helped me learn to walk with
You'. 'That is correct' said Jesus. 'And when the smaller footprints were inside of Yours, I was actually learning
to walk in Your steps, following You very closely'. 'Very good. You have understood everything so far', Jesus
replied. 'When the smaller footprints grew and filled in Yours, I supposed that I was becoming like You in every way'.
'Precisely' said Jesus. 'So, Lord, was there a regression or something? The footprints separated, and this time it was
worse than at first'. There is a pause as the Lord answers, with a smile in His voice. 'You didn't know? It was then that
we danced!' " [Author Unknown]
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4 says, "To everything there is a season, a time for every
purpose under heaven: A time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance".
Matt's life was short, but
full. He laughed, he cried, and I'm sure there were times when he even mourned. But no matter what he went
through, God was there. When things were bad, God carried him, and when things were good, they danced. And,
in Matt's final hours, the good Shepherd was right there beside him, holding his hand, and leading the way home.
91: 1-4 says, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Him will I trust. Surely He will deliver thee from
the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers and under His wings
shalt thou trust. His truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
Matt was a fine Christian young
man, and he touched the hearts of many. His love for God spilled out on everyone who knew him, and in Matt's
final hours, love for him drew people from his school, his community, his state and even the entire country, together in one
common cause... prayer. Do you have the assurance that Matt did? Have you accepted Christ as your personal
saviour? If you haven't, then I invite you to do that right now. But, one thing you need to know is that my Jesus
is a gentleman and He will never come into your heart uninvited. If you will ask Him though, He will fill your
heart with joy in the good times, impart His strength to you in the bad, and in the final hour, just like He did with Matt,
God will come, wrap you gently within the feathers of His love and carry you home.
Father, I thank you for Matt's life and for the joy that he brought into the lives of
so many. I ask you to grant grace for the broken-hearted and surround us with a sense of your Almighty presence.
Quiet our spirits with your peace, Lord, immerse us in your love, and may we find strength and solace both now and in
the days to come. In thy precious name I pray. Amen.