I wish you could have known my son, Christopher David Laurie.
Three years ago he left us unexpectedly.
Our hearts are still heavy with sorrow that is somehow mixed with the joy of knowing we will see him again.
Below is something my wife wrote about our son.
I have spoken on this many times, but my wife has not.
What she has written is honest and honoring to God and my son’s memory.
I encourage you to read it.
Here is a video that we prepared about Christopher’s life as well.
By Cathe Laurie
July 24, 2008
The day broke, in the cool morning air. The sun shone brilliantly as a breeze stirred in the camphor tress that line the streets of our neighborhood. It was shaping up to be a perfect day, the kind of day on which young moms take their children to the beach, and grandmothers love to remember.
I woke early, made the bed, changed into my running clothes, tied on my Nikes. I was headed out for a quick early run. Life was good. Our firstborn son had a beautiful wife who knew Jesus as her Savior, and in the past year even her mother had come to faith. I was happy.
I looked forward to Thursdays when my daughter-in-law Brittany and her mom Sheryll would come over for a time of Bible study. “Papa” Greg would take Stella for lunch so we could pray and read together. It was good.
Our “perfect day” would last for only a few measured minutes longer, as we were about to face a tragedy that would break in like a cruel thief.
We had been studying through the book of Philippians. That morning, the verse I’d set for our time together would be Paul’s famous passionate statement in chapter 3, verse 10. “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death…” Little did we realize we would have a crash course on the subject. Only this time, I would no longer be guiding the discussion…He would.
My son was 33 years old. Somewhere on the 91 Freeway between Green River and Serfas Club Drive, Christopher’s life on earth would end. He had a daughter who was to celebrate her second birthday in 4 days, and another baby girl due in 4 months. Her party would be cancelled, and for many months time would stand still.
It felt like God had taken a big eraser and cleaned the chalkboard of my dreams. He would draw a different picture than the one I had in mind. The colors would be darker and more somber, the lines less straight and crisp. Thomas Merton is said to have written, “God draws straight with crooked lines.” It’s true.
It is unimaginable planning your son’s memorial service, choosing a coffin, a gravesite, an inscription; unimaginable standing in the delivery room watching the birth of his second child without him there. Every holiday, anniversary, birthday…parts of me have been broken…and broken again.
We have never suffered more, cried more, trusted more, or grown more. Getting up in the morning and going to bed at night required strength we didn’t have, and only God could give. And He did.
You may have heard people who suffer say things like, “It feels like a punch in the stomach.” I can tell you the emotional pain you face one second after you wake knocks the wind out of you. My first thought is, “Christopher is gone. It isn’t a bad dream. Oh God, help.”
The pain hasn’t gone away, it’s changed. Trauma over time hurts differently, unfolding and morphing unexpectedly. I stopped asking, “Why?” because I knew that even if I heard the answer, it would be too big for me to wrap my mind around. “How unsearchable are His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out.”
I do know the Bible is full of stories that helped me; stories of those who could teach me how to live in pain. I suggest you learn them and take notes. They flooded my mind and instructed my heart that dark day.
In the Book of Acts we read the story of how Simon Peter was released from prison but in the same chapter, the Apostle James was beheaded. Hebrews 11 is full of contrasts. Some women received back their dead, raised to life. Some stopped the mouths of lions while others were tortured, put to death by stoning. None of us know how our lives or the lives of those we love will play out.
But I can say God is good. I have heard the Lord Jesus’ calming voice and felt His nearness. I can stand beside Mary, His mother, at the foot of the cross and hear His cry, “My God, My God, why…?” I can imagine the tears our Lord, too, has tasted at the tomb of His friend Lazarus, as he prayed and sweat blood, and cried alone in the garden of Gethsemane. I have a God who suffered. And for that reason He is my greatest Comforter. He knows what I feel and far, far more He is able to give me strength I need every day. For this I love Him more.
Just days after the Lord took Christopher home, we received a card from Warren Wiersbe that I keep in my journal. I read it again today on the eve of Christopher’s anniversary.
“Dear Greg and Cathe,
“As God’s children we live on promises not explanations, and you know the promises as well as we do. When we arrive in Heaven we will hear the Explanations, accept them and say, ‘May the Lord be glorified.’
“Meanwhile, we continue to walk by faith, asking God to help us comfort others, lest our own tears be wasted.
“Your people will detect a new tone in your ministries, whether you sense it or not, and the Lord will accomplish unusual things. Trust Him. Betty and I shall be wrapping our arms around you as we pray for you. It takes time to digest grief, so be patient with yourselves and with the Lord. Jesus saves the best wine for last.”
It is all true.
We have lived on promises.
We have no tidy explanations.
We have accepted this, and have seen the Lord glorified in unexpected ways.
We have been comforted, and have comforted countless others.
We have not wasted our tears.
There has been a new tone in our ministries.
God has done unusual things.
We continue to trust Him as we “digest” our grief.
Jesus does save the best wine for last.
Until then, I will wait for that day… I can almost taste it now.