What's so good about Good Friday? For me, warm fuzzy feelings don't accompany the gruesome reminder of Christ being beaten, flogged, and crucified for my sin. I know there are lessons to be learned from the cross, but the sole reason I'm able to make it through the dark nights that follow Jesus' crucifixion is the promise the sun will rise on Easter Sunday. Good Friday, a day commemorated by Christians worldwide as the day Jesus gave his life up on the cross, has never been an enjoyable one for me.
This year, the day is especially depressing, mostly because two young men from the Wheaton College community passed away in the past week leading up to Resurrection Sunday. One of them, a Wheaton freshman named Graham Stevens, suddenly went into cardiac arrest during a game of capture the flag on Wheaton's campus last weekend, and passed away in the hospital this past Tuesday. The other was a friend of mine, Josh French, who was on my "brother floor" during my freshman year, and died in a tragic car accident last Saturday, while he was on his way to visit his wife in Kansas City, Missouri.
Josh and I shared life in Fischer Dorm's 4th floor, and he inspired me every day with the passion he had for life. Whenever I saw him, he was surrounded by people, and usually had a large, beaming smile on his face. He always walked with a bounce in his step, and was usually headed to the soccer fields to participate in intramurals or a pickup game. As his brother posted on his Facebook wall yesterday,
"I am comforted, today, knowing that Josh French is playing on the finest soccer field in heaven. GOD is good...."
During my junior year at Wheaton, I was able to capture some of Josh's passion for soccer on film (see the video tribute to Josh here), and know Josh is definitely kicking it upstairs right now, with Jesus.
Both Graham and Josh's deaths reminded me of the temporary lives we all have here on Earth, but our shared faith in Christ's resurrection reassure me I'll see them both in heaven. As our commencement speaker stated at my graduation ceremony at Wheaton College in 2011, that would be the last time all of us would be together on this side of heaven. Since that speech two years ago, two of my classmates have indeed left us behind, but I'm still inspired by the hope that comes with Christ's resurrection, and know everything will be all right. Both Graham and Josh lived life to the fullest every day, and I have been inspired by them to do the same - until we meet again in paradise!
"Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” -Luke 23:43-