I can truthfully say, with a hurting, but thankful heart, that the Lord is preserving me through this trial. I stand softened and malleable to his loving hand as He bathes my raw wounds with His love. I experience a heightened sensitivity to his presence in the depths of my pain. I believe I am growing in my faith and trust in Him. I understand and accept the truth that God purifies us through affliction. For the Believer, suffering draws us closer to Him.
But what about Hans?
What I am having difficulty with is the thought that Hans did not live long enough to suffer the hardship and affliction that would make him more Christ-like. This, apparently, was not ordained for him. He did not have a chance to grow to ripe maturity in the Lord or to produce sacrificial fruit for Him. He did not have to suffer heartbreaking losses or work through the uncertainties of life while desperately leaning on the Lord for purifying strength. He didn’t experience privation or desolation to the point where there was no help other than what the Lord would provide in answer to prayer. He didn’t get a chance to build up much treasure in Heaven.
Or did he?
I know full well that Hans is not missing out on anything. Much as we miss him, we know that he is complete, fulfilled, and satisfied and is enjoying being with his Savior and with his brothers and sisters in the Lord.
What I cannot know is what transpired in the spiritual realm in the final moments of Hans’ life here on earth. With his injuries, I do not know if he was capable of conscious thought. But could it be that one does not have to be fully conscious to commune with the Lord?
As death overcomes the body and the believer passes into life eternal, in the last moments of grace, is the still small voice of the Lord the last and clearest thing a child of God hears on earth? Is our spiritual receptivity at its peak at this very moment? Despite the sirens, the shouting, the broken glass, the cold night air, was Hans keenly aware of his Lord’s presence? Were his ears filled only with the voice of God? Did the Lord whisper to Hans, I have a job for you, here’s what it will cost you, are you willing?
If so, I would like to believe that Hans’ heart whispered back,
It seems to me that it just cannot be possible that Hans will suffer loss of reward simply because his earthly life was short. Perhaps leaving his family so soon and so abruptly was part of some special assignment the Lord has for Hans. I do not think Hans would have volunteered to sign up for dying young in a car crash – not many of us would. But, he was the kind of guy that usually ended up doing jobs that nobody else really wanted to do simply because the thing just needed doing. Maybe this was one of those jobs.
I believe with all my heart that the Lord has a purpose for what happened to Hans. I do not need to know right now what it is because I will see the whole picture when I get to Glory. I would like to know now, but I do not demand to know now. I trust Almighty God was working the night of the crash and that He is working now. I trust He will reward Hans as He sees fit. Being present with the Lord is reward enough.
I cannot remember the source but, years ago, I heard the following quote on the radio and it stuck with me. It was a program dealing with infant loss and miscarriage and it went something like this:
“The littlest [or shortest] life has fulfilled its purpose, if only to increase our longing for our heavenly home.”
Hans’ life has most definitely accomplished that.
And I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story.