Published 9:00 am Wednesday, April 13, 2022
When Darryl died, I was speechless.
I sat at church on the pew outside my pastor father’s office, staring at the carpet. My brother sat beside me to keep me company.
The music minister stopped on his way by and asked me what was wrong. “You look like you just lost your best friend,” he said.
“He did,” my brother Brad answered him.
“Oh,” he said and knelt down in front of me. He put his hand on my 12-year-old shoulder and said, “I’m sorry.”
I appreciated it, but couldn’t answer. I just let the tears fall.
I don’t know if I ever thanked my brother for sitting with me, but I’ll say it now. Thanks, Brad.
My best friend had died that day after an accident involving his bicycle and a passerby’s car. It was no one’s fault, really — a careful driver and a playing kid don’t always survive the encounter. It was fresh — his funeral had not yet happened — and I didn’t know what to do with my grief.
God helped me through it eventually. But at that moment … I was lost.
I can only imagine what it was like for the disciples of Jesus after his crucifixion and death on that Friday a couple of thousand years ago. They had heard his teaching, walked with him, ate with him, told him bad jokes (probably), and may have complained to him about another disciple’s snoring or body odor.
They loved Jesus and loved being his followers, but they did not understand all the times he had spoken plainly to them about what was going to happen to him and why. He was sent to die, to pay the debt for our sins to a holy, perfect God, and then to raise to life so we could have life instead of death in eternity. He had told them, he had demonstrated his power over sin and demons and death itself, but they were flabbergasted when he died.
Their worlds came crashing down. He was dead. They were … lost.
The last time Darryl and I saw each other face-to-face was the Sunday before his wreck on Tuesday. We played catch with my football in his front yard. Almost at the same time, we asked each other if the other one of us knew Jesus, had a real relationship with him as Savior. We both laughed and agreed we did. We had both wanted to ask, wanted to talk bluntly about it, but didn’t know where to start. We both had decided we couldn’t wait any longer to find out. Now we knew, and we were thrilled that no matter what happened to us here on earth, we’d see each other again and spend eternity together.
I sure didn’t know that was the last opportunity we would have to talk about it. Almost 40 years later, I still miss my friend but I look forward to the day I see him in eternity. I hope for that day because I know who Jesus is and what he did for both of us. For a moment, I felt lost in grief, but that sorrow turned into joy as I was reminded of our shared destination.
The disciples’ sorrow was turned to joy when they saw Jesus again, just a few days later! He was raised to life and their grief was gone, replaced by irrepressible hope, joy and determination to serve him. That terrible Friday became “Good Friday” because of what it now represented — Jesus canceling our sin debt — and Resurrection Sunday now reminds us that we can have life forever because of it.
Have you understood that good news?
Brett Campbell can be reached at email@example.com.