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Precious Memories

A grief narrative by Sonya Lakey

Family Story

Little did our family of six know that Friday evening, September 24th, 2021, would be the last night our family would be complete. We laughed together, played games, sang, and enjoyed listening as our 16-year-old son, Ethan, played the piano for us. I packed a lunch for Ethan for a church mountain hike he was going on the following day. My mother (who was visiting from out of state) and I woke early with Ethan on Saturday morning. He hugged me and smiled, never pulling away or rushing me. He got in the car, waved, said he'd see me later and he loved me. It was hard to watch my "new driver" heading out on his own that morning. As Ethan pulled out of the gate, I turned to my mother and said, "It's just so hard letting go." Little did I know how much "letting go" I was really doing. That was the last time I saw Ethan. He did not make it home that evening.

That afternoon, a friend tried to contact my husband, leaving an urgent message to call him back. He tried several times to return the call to no avail. As we were preparing supper, an overwhelming feeling of deep concern for Ethan filled my heart. I quietly blinked back tears. I glanced out the window, half expecting to see a police officer pull up to the house, but no one arrived. However, within a few minutes, a patrol car DID pull into the driveway. In my heart, I feared the worst. My husband and I went out to meet the officer, who confirmed our fears. Hesitantly, he told us our son had fallen off of a bluff and had succumbed to his injuries. Our hearts were crushed; they still are.

Yet, in all of our brokenness, deep, continual grief and loneliness, our family has such a blessed Hope and assurance that we will see our dear son and brother again. You see, when Ethan was a young boy, he was saved; he put his faith in Jesus alone to forgive his sins and to take him to Heaven when he died. He realized some very important truths from the Bible that he would want to share with you.

His Story

Everyone is a sinner. Sin is any violation of God’s Law. God is holy, just and righteous, and He cannot allow sin in His presence. Ethan realized that he – like all of us – had sinned; and his sin separated Him from God. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; ” (Romans 3:23) “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12)

He understood that, because of his sin, he deserved to spend eternity in Hell. “For the wages of sin is death;” (Romans 6:23a) [Wages: price]

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8) Ethan believed that Jesus, God’s Son, paid the price for all sin when He died on the cross – because His sinless sacrifice was the only thing that could satisfy the just demands of a righteous, holy God. Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb, but He arose the third day, triumphant over sin, death, and Hell. Jesus is alive today!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Ethan was sorry for his sin, repented (turned), and received by faith the free gift that God offered to him. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) “...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b) Because of this great salvation, Ethan lived his life serving Jesus. He worked hard to spread this Good News to the world. He is alive in Heaven with Jesus today; and because of this great HOPE in Christ, we know we will see him again soon – not because he was a great kid, but because of his faith in the great Saviour!

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

Your Story What about you? What if you had fallen to your death that day – What if you were to die today? Where will you spend eternity – Heaven or the Lake of Fire? There will not be any parties in the Lake of Fire. It is a place of eternal torment for those who reject God's Son.
The Word of God is very clear that there is only One Way to Heaven. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

We did not know that Ethan would step into eternity that day; however, because he put his faith in Jesus alone for his salvation, Ethan was ready to go. Some day – perhaps today – you will take your last breath here on earth, and you will step into eternity. Where you spend eternity is determined by what you do with Jesus Christ. Will you accept Him or reject Him? You are not promised another day or another breath. Eternity begins soon – Are you ready? “...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31b)

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) “(...behold, now is the day of salvation.)” (2 Corinthians 6:2c)
- Sonya Lakey