Recently, I received the phone call no friend wants to receive. At 5:30 am on Sunday, September 21st, 2014 my son called to tell me his friend Jesse had been killed. I will never forget my sons shattered and broken voice. In the days after we all tried to help our friends family, but there is nothing any of us can do to ease their pain. Sure, our presence and support means much to them, but their hearts are broken and their lives are forever changed.
Along with many others, I've been thinking a lot about Jesse and his life. He was known to always be there for his friends and family, even unto death. At age 20, he already seemed to understand and live out the greatest commandment by loving his LORD and loving his neighbor as himself. Through the actions of being there for friends he revealed Jesus.
Jesse was no more the perfect kid than any of my kids, but loving and caring for others the way Jesus did came naturally to him. Did he always make the right decisions? Of course not. Like the rest of us he took a few wrong turns and hit a few speed bumps along the way. However, Jesse's most important decision was made when he was young as he accepted Jesus as his personal Savior. We, his family and friends can know we will see him again. Sure, our hearts are broken, but we have assurance of where he is and our future with him.
Jesse's death reminds me of the love of Jesus. By coming to the defense of others he put himself in a vulnerable place and another human took his earthly life. It's likely he never thought about the risk to himself, because that's just who Jesse was. He simply chose to defend those whom he loved. Similarly, Christ chose to die on the cross taking our sins upon Himself. In doing so, Christ made a way so that we could live forever with Him.
I believe if Jesse could shout back from heaven to his friends he would ask each of us to evalute our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Asking:
"Do you know what your eternal destiny will be? And if not, PLEASE pray/talk to Jesus and ask Him to come into your heart and life and forgive you when you mess up. We all mess up even with Jesus in our hearts. I want to see you again. So, do it.....talk to JESUS and make sure at the end of your life you step into heaven with Jesus, me and many others who have gone before you."
"16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him." John 3:16-18 The Message
The words above are what Jesse's family and I believe Jesse would say to each of us if he could.
By HIS mercy and in the very grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue