July 24th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 16 Comments »
That’s how long it’s been since I last spoke with our oldest son, Christopher David Laurie—or as we called him, Topher.
He left us unexpectedly and tragically on July 24, 2008 at 9:01 in the morning. It was an automobile accident. People ask me, as the years pass, if it gets any easier dealing with the death of a child. The answer is yes, and no.
Yes, the pain is not what it was in the immediate aftermath of hearing the unthinkable news that Christopher was no longer with us. It was so severe, I honestly wondered at times if I could make it. My wife, Cathe, has been my support in so many ways. That pain is gone, and replaced by a deep abiding sadness and longing to see him again.
Yet in this sadness, I have hope. I have the hope that I will see my son again in Heaven. That’s because Jesus said I would. He promised me, and all of us, that He has gone to prepare a place for us (John 14). And that place, of course, is Heaven.
Heaven is a real place for real people to do real things. In fact, if anything, here on earth we are seeing the imitation. Heaven is the real thing.
Losing my son has caused me to, in a sense, have a “foot in Heaven.” I am far more mindful of the shortness of life and the nearness of eternity.
There are many good things that have happened despite this tragedy, because God promised there would be. For example, we are launching a new church campus in Orange County next week that came out of this pain.
The radical transformation of Christopher’s brother, Jonathan, from a prodigal into a preacher has been nothing short of breathtaking.
Other bold ventures of faith that we have undertaken and are undertaking have been a direct result of wanting to use my pain for something good—to try, in my own feeble way, to bring hope to others who are hurting.
Not a day goes by that I do not hear from people who have lost loved ones—especially children—and they tell me that seeing our family go on gives them hope that they can too.
Christopher would be 40 years old now. He was so talented and full of life. I think of all he might have accomplished with his life. But it was not to be. But when I get to Heaven, I know it will all make sense. Until then I will trust the Lord, I will continue to miss my son, and I will seek to do all I can for God’s kingdom.
P.S. – I received a beautiful letter from Cliff and Ann Barrows the other day. Cliff, of course, is the longtime associate of Billy Graham:
“Dear Greg and Cathe,
The seventh anniversary of your precious son “Topher’s” home going is soon upon you. I know this is much in your heart with Cathe. Just know we join in rejoicing he is walking around Heaven together with the saints and friends that have gone before. They are praising God together!
We join you, dear Greg and Cathe. Ann and I send our love and remembrance in grieving the absence of his presence in your lives today.
‘Strength for today. . . .Bright hope for tomorrow’
Cliff and Ann Barrows”
What a perfectly written letter at a difficult time. Thank you, Cliff and Ann, and all the others who have reached out to us.