Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Life Well Lived

When I opened my blogger dashboard on Friday night, I recieved an unpleasant surprise. There seemed to be a theme among many of the blogs I follow- there were at least three posts, all from different people, about one young man. One man, and how his life impacted them.

That young man's name was Joshua Eddy. He was a nineteen year old, on fire for God and in love with life. But on May 5, one misstep proved fatal and the river became his coffin.

Now, his family and friends grieve. They pray. They question. But even with the tears comes joy...for Josh ministered to thousands more people after his death than I'm sure he could ever have imagined.


I never met Josh Eddy. I came into the league one year after he left and never heard his name until Friday night. But Josh's testimony has touched me in a way that nothing else of yet has.

In the middle of April, Josh wrote a blog post entitled, "To die well..." There, he documented for the eyes of his 60-some followers thoughts that were going through his head in the early morning hours. They were thoughts about death.

"But now, having grown beyond childish fantasy and realized the reality of my duty as a man… the thought of giving my life for something… what would it be? A day rarely passes that I don’t think about it.

Will I die in an explosion saving a woman and her child from a car engulfed in flames? Will I throw myself in front of a truck to save a child playing in the street? Will I die protecting my family from an intruder in my home? Will I take a bullet to the head while standing between a sick thug and the woman he intended to rape? Will I give away the last parachute or life ring? The last piece of bread? The last ounce of water? Will I freeze to death having given away my last piece of warm clothing?

Will I sing songs of praise as I am burned alive for refusing to deny the One who endured far worse for me…….?

Do these questions scare me? No. I would give anything to die like that… To die so that someone else might live… the thought shakes me and sends tears streaming down my face. But more than that, so much more than that, I want to die a martyr. To die for the overwhelming love of Christ, and the honor of bearing His Name and image; to be counted “among whom the world was not worthy”… I can’t even imagine… That would be dying well."
Josh, you did die well- you set an example for us not only through your life but also through your death. You didn't die exactly how you hoped you would. You died doing what you loved- capturing life through the lens of a camera.
But your death had an even bigger effect on those around you than did your life, if that's possible. You did die so that others might live- so that we could see what a good and holy death is. So that we could experience the grief of a role model gone, and grow closer to God through the pain. So that we could muse on how we want our deaths to be...and arrive at the realization that to have a holy death, we must live a holy life.
Your blog, The Bright and Hopeful Unknown, went up 7 thousand views in 2 days after your death. Hundreds of those visiting probably never knew you, like me. But you ministered to them too. You were a role model for us through your life and also through your death.
You're the first. Over the years, there will be more tragedies, more people we know and love who will leave our lives forever. There will be more tears, more grief, more stories that end far before they should have.
But we're learning. I'm learning. Learning how to say, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord." We're all asking why. "Why did you take him just when his life was starting to begin? Why didn't you let him stay here, let us learn from him longer?"
We begin to cry the words that Louisa May Alcott wrote in Little Women, "The good and dear ones always die."
And it's true.
But maybe it's because God has smiled on them and said, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the eternal happiness of Heaven!"
We don't always like God's timing. We think we know better. I wish that I'd been able to meet Josh Eddy in person...but I might never have known about him if not for his tragic, young death.  Those 7 thousand viewers on his blog may never have known him if he hadn't died.
Thank you, Josh, for being a shining example of a holy death through living well. Your passion for life and bravery until the end is an inspiration that only God could have planned.

"To surrender a precious dream is a fearful thing, but to pursue anything but the full measure of the glory of God’s love is a wasted life." ~Joshua Eddy

No comments:

Post a Comment