Today marked the two-year anniversary of the “homecoming” of a very close friend of mine, Aaron Smith.
Aaron and I first met in 9th grade, when I was lost in the halls of Fayette County High School, and he showed me the way to my class. He became the first new friend I made in high school.
We reconnected in Sept 2008, through our friend mutual friend Pat Davis. Aaron trusted Christ in November of that year. We became very close, dear friends & brothers in Christ. We rode many miles together, spent many nights talking and praying over the phone, and shared a lifetime of friendship in a few short years. It was over too fast.
Aaron died of prostate cancer in May 16, 2012. I still miss him, think of him often, and look forward to seeing him again in Heaven some day.
I took the time this morning to call his mother, his father down in Florida, and his sister Liz. It had been a hard week for each. In fact, Liz and her husband had kept Aaron’s cat “Bogey” since his death, and they had to put him down this week due to a severe lung condition he developed. She said it brought back memories of Aaron’s passing, and the pain of it all. After we talked, I sat down and shed some tears myself- for the memories of Aaron’s final days and final departure; for the sadness we experience in having to say goodbye to those we love; and for the shared pain and loss that often binds us one to another in this life.
And yet I know, as I read in God’s Word the Bible, that “we do not grieve as those who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13), and one day, there will be no more goodbyes, no more shared pain, only hellos and shared joy. Our Father will “wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things will be gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4)
That gives me hope, makes the deep ache in my soul for “the home I’ve never been to” more bearable. There is a great homecoming awaiting those of us who have loved and followed Christ. (John 14:2-3)