Our friend is heart-broken and for good reason. His only son, eighteen year old John Robert Dobbs, was walking along the highway in the dark late last night as his vehicle had stalled. An eighteen wheeler accidentally ran over and killed him instantly. John Robert was to graduate from High School in two days.
John Robert's dad, John, preaches for a church in Monroe, Louisiana. I've spoken with him three times today. His mind is blown and his heart is crushed. John has entered that most dreaded zone where few truly understand God's heart until they, too, enter such a privileged arena. The pain is intense. Dismay reigns. The heart can barely survive; but survive it will.
God has been there and done that. He understands John like no other and John will now gain a perspective he didn't want, but will use to God's glory. God lost His only son to early death. The Bible says a day is like a thousand years to God and a thousand years as a day. The agony God experienced in the absence of His son felt like three thousand years to Him. John's been through one partial day to this point and it feels like it's been weeks.
What do I say to my broken friend? Well, the first call at 7:00 a.m. I cried loudly with him. That's the most creative I could muster. The second and third at noon and later in the evening I merely checked in to let him know of the untold numbers of Memorial friends who were aching in heart with him and Margaret.
The day will come when John will not only be okay, he will find himself remarkably blessed by this disaster precisely at the level mankind is blessed when God lost His son. The Word says that due to Jesus' suffering he became a source of eternal life. John can't fathom such now. His mind won't let him go there and I don't blame him. But I feel sure the day will come when it will occur to him that John Robert still lives so mightily in his heart that, from all the drowning suffering he is now enduring, he will become a source of life for others. No one is ever a real source of life until they have been baptized in the fire of fierce and impossible suffering.
God bless you John and Margaret. John Robert will not be forgotten. Furthermore, the drive for souls to be drawn to the Master has just increased due to the mystery of God working in such distress which you now encounter. His life and his death will not be wasted. The kingdom will expand because your son was a dedicated believer of God's invisible world.