I’ve been out of town for about ten days. When Stacie and I returned to the Salt Lake City airport on Monday I stood by some newspaper vending machines and rocked little John’s stroller as my wife went to the bathroom. I glanced over and was shocked. The body of BYU student Camille Cleverley had been found dead in Provo. I was then again shocked by the circumstances: she had fallen off a cliff near Bridal Veil Falls the same day my wife and I went there for her birthday celebration.
Life is so precious and so short. God knows what day we will die but we don’t. Every breath is a gift from above and not even our next minute is guaranteed. If the Lord wills, we will live another day (cf. James 4:13-16).
On Tuesday I received an e-mail from Andy Bird, Utah’s most active evangelist and one of my best friends in Utah:
Sunday morning our Pastor started off his fantastic sermon by sharing a story that happened just this week . The message was powerful and I am going to take a shot at summing up the story he shared before he did an exegesis of 2 Corinthians 5 for you…. A few folks were down in our Pastor’s basement having a conversation and fellowshipping (playing pool). One young man (Seth) asked Pastor Hurlbutt some questions regarding the urgency of Evangelism. The Pastor replied with a great answer that included the urgency that you never know when someone will take their last breath. Seth then decided that he would be intentional starting this week to share his faith. He was going to meet his friend Ben for some outdoor recreational activities. Ben brought along a friend of his Christopher, but Seth was determined to share the Gospel with Ben. Seth had been sharing the Gospel for a good part of the evening with Ben before they decided to go up in the canyon to enjoy the view.
As Ben and Seth were sitting on a boulder, Ben had already begun that turn of faith in Christ and asked Seth in their conversation…..How he could get right with God. Seth then shared how Ben could profess that to…God. As they continued they heard the other friend behind them say something about a bear. Before they had much chance to react Ben was struck by Christopher in the head by a metal pole. Christopher then attacked Seth, Seth was struck in the side but managed to run away. Seth made it away to safety. Unfortunately he found out later that Ben was dead. This was a premeditated attack from Christopher. We still do not yet know the motives. The real story here is that Seth shared the Gospel with this young man just moments before his last breath. Seth was asked to speak at Ben’s funeral and share what he and Ben had been talking about on the boulder. It seems like Ben made a good profession of faith just moments if not seconds before he was struck dead by Christopher.
The News Story can be found here.
This story is so striking to me as it reminds me that we must be intentional, persistent and have a sense of urgency when we share our faith. It is a very blunt reminder of the real status of man. The additional light to this story is that Seth got to share the Gospel at the funeral and that Seth has shared the Gospel with a few other friends and in just a few weeks two of them have put their trust in the Lord! Ultimately I am reminded again of the Sovereignty of God as through a conversation, question and a tragedy ….. eternity is now forever changed. To God be the Glory forever!