I saw the ambulance. I was sitting in the front window of the coffee shop when it whizzed by. I zoned out watching it, noticing it was EMS rather than the local rescue team. Didn't mean much.
From the front window of the coffee shop you can see everything that's happening in town. I could see the ambulance was not headed towards the nursing home. It could have been headed towards campus, but I couldn't tell. Didn't mean much.
It did prompt me to think about how we have not lost a student since I started. Sure, students have had seizures, passed out, dislocated shoulders in class but they've all been fine in a few hours or days. We've lost professors, staff members, and family members. But never a student.
I went back to my work.
Not long after that, I saw the same ambulance return in the direction from which it came, sirens still on. I thought about Tweeting about how it's not a good sign when an ambulance returns from a call with its lights and siren.
Despite the town only having one stoplight, despite my roommate working in campus ministries, despite seeing the ambulance, I learned from Twitter that one of my sisters in Christ had passed away.
The world stopped.
I didn't recognize her name, but I knew her face. I definitely knew her face. I've heard her testimony.
It was her birthday.
The night before she'd Tweeted that she was excited for the next day. I'm sure she had no idea how exciting it would be for her. She got to celebrate her earthly birthday with the Lord.
That morning, she'd Tweeted and thanked the Lord for another year of her life. That night, He took her home.
Sniffles and tears were overwhelming at our weekly worship service last night. My roommate had hugged her the morning she went Home. Others had been in her class. We were all grieving.
And it's ok to cry. It's ok to be sad. Jesus was. When His friend Lazarus died, the Bible says Jesus wept.
Yet still there was an element of joy in the air. We knew (and know) that she is with the Lord.
You see, this sister I never had the pleasure to hug, loved the Lord. A lot.
We know that her death is not in vain. We know that she's in the arms of our Father. We know that she would be overjoyed if everyone (if anyone) came to know the Lord through her death.
We celebrated. We praised the Lord. We know that He is good even when life is bad. His timing is perfect even when ours is a little off.
Yes, it's hard. Yes, we thought He was going to do a lot more with her on this earth. Yes, we know that her testimony will continue to inspire, to encourage, and to draw people to Him. It's all she wanted to do with her life and now in her death.
That's what I want my life and death to be about: the glory of the Lord. Today. Tomorrow. Every day until I'm called home. And even then.
If you don't mind, can you take a few seconds right now and pray for us? Pray for her family. Pray for her friends, roommates, and colleagues. Pray for this campus, this town. Thank God that He took one of His children home rather than a student who didn't know Him. Thank Him for His goodness and journeying with us.
But don't pray for her. It's not necessary. She's ok because she's in the arms of the Father. And if she's not in heaven, then we're all in trouble. But I know she is.
And next time you see an ambulance, do me a favor and pray for the patient, the team, and the team meeting him/her. Pray for the family, the friends. Pray that God be glorified as He as been here.
This verse was very important to her. It is now very important to me.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Romans 1:16
Today's a gift, friends. It's the most important day of your life. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow isn't promised.
You never know when you're going to be called home. It could be in the middle of class on your 21st birthday.
And I'm ok with that.