Monday, February 28, 2011


I heard it said yesterday that when a child dies, its like putting a period in the middle of a sentence.  You know its there, but it doesn't belong.  That period ends the sentence, no matter what you were planning after it.

Our small community was pretty shaken up two weeks ago (today) when a 6th grade boy became ill.  He had played basketball on Saturday morning.  His grandma thought he might have the flu and assumed they'd go to the hospital, get a shot, and come home.

They discovered that he had a very bad case of pneumonia, leading to his transport to a more equipped hospital.  The next day, the pneumonia had taken both lungs, and things became very bad.  He had to have an oxygen tube put in, and eventually had to have an experimental open heart surgery to try to save his life.

He was not a 'youth,' but my heart was very broken for him, his family, and the community.  Our church family was engaged in prayer for him constantly.  It really rocked our community.

As his condition became worse, I began to worry.  Students will be students.  Many think of themselves and their friends as invincible...I mean, look at the dumb stuff they do!  I know I certainly did dumb unsafe things at that age.  I saw on facebook a variety of emotions playing out.  Many people posting things like "praying for Trenton," but many more saying things like, "he'll make it through" or, "he's strong, don't worry."

I'll have to admit, I'm still very much a newbie youth minister.  I've been at it for almost 3 years, but I'm by no means an expert.  I've never had to deal with anything like this before.  Here are some things that I learned from his sickness:

  • Students will show tremendous loyalty and support for friends during hard times (no matter how much or little they know the person)
  • Students are very affected by tragedy
  • Students don't really need answers or advice, but loving words
  • In ministering to hurting students in crisis times, its OK to bring up these things.  They need to talk about it, and need you to not treat the subject like its an "unmentionable"

I was hanging out with some students at a playoff basketball game when I got the text that made my heart drop.  Trenton had passed away.  Word quickly spread, and as we left the game (with a victory), the mood was somber.

In these crisis times, we HAVE to be available and sensitive.  The funeral was on Saturday, and that was an incredibly emotional event for everybody.  I saw emotions swing from victory to sting.  Our pastor did an excellent job speaking at the funeral.

We celebrated the fact that Trenton was in the presence of the Lord.  He was saved and baptized at Crossroads.  His body is now whole, and if he had the choice, he wouldn't want to be in any other place.  His family was incredibly faithful to God during this time and publicly relied on him.  Through this sorrow, God's name was proclaimed.

The sting of death, however, was heavy.  Yes, scripture promises that with Christ, death does not have victory, and ultimately there is no sting...but for us still on Earth, the sting is painful...not fatal...just incredibly painful.  I can't imagine burying Colin or Carley.  Grieving hurts...hurts bad.  I saw a family seeing their loved one for the last time here on earth, sobbing loud as they passed the casket.

It reminded me that God has numbered our days.  We must make sure that we are using them for his glory.  It also puts the incredible job we have as believers in front of us.  If all of our days are numbered, we MUST be sharing Christ with others.  God, help me live to bring others to a faith in Christ!


  1. I know what it is like to weep for a child lost... sobbing louder than I have ever sobbed in my entire life and not even caring who heard me or what they would think about me. It is a moment forever ingrained in my memory, and it will be for this family too. I will pray for them. It just doesn't seem fair.

  2. It's not fair, you're right. I know they will appreciate the prayers.