Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Running hard after Him

On Sunday night, as Keith and I sat eating at Jason's Deli, I got the call. Daniel Heinrich, on his way to do street evangelism in downtown Fort Worth with the other youth, had been hit head-on by a drunk driver and was killed instantly. His only sibling, Emily, is a dear friend to me and is our main babysitter. Their family has been friends with us for about 4 or 5 years. After the news began to sink in, I told Keith that I wanted to go be with Emily. He wholeheartedly agreed. When I called my to find out where she was, I was told that she was in a meeting at Denton Bible Church...almost an hour away...she did not know yet. I offered to go get her and bring her home. So mom, Melinda Spray (another friend from church) and I set out for Denton. We got their in just over 35 minutes. News had started spreading fast and we were afraid she would get the news by a text message before someone could be with her.

When her meeting concluded, I grabbed her before she could get to the phone. Her parents wanted us to go ahead and tell her. We quietly pulled her aside into a women's restroom and mom stood guard at the door to keep people from coming in. There, standing by the tile walls, I delivered the news. She stood there stunned, just staring at me. Then the tears began to flow, her shoulders began to shake with the sobs, but she didn't make any sounds. I felt as if I had just stabbed my friend.

The ride home was quiet. At one point, she turned on her phone and played a song about being safe in the arms of Jesus. Her first impluse was to run to the arms of the Savior and be held by Him. After arriving at her house, I watched from a far as she literally ran into her parents arms as her mom ran to her. I will never forget that sight or those sounds. A small group from church had gathered and we gathered around them for a time of prayer. What a bittersweet time. There was gut wrenching grief, and glorious celebration at the same time. Only in the life of a Believer...

Daniel, only 18 years old, was already a man of God. When I think of him, there are only 2 expressions I can see...one is smiling and laughing, the other is eyes closed and face earnestly lifted toward heaven with hands raised in worship. There was an earnestness to his spiritual life. He had become burdened for the lost and for sharing God's Light with those in darkness. That was his mission at the very time of his death...to find those downtown that needed to hear the Truth. He was a young man who was running hard after Him. What a testimony for us to leave behind. May it be said of me. Daniel, you were an example to those much older than you, as well as those who will hopefully follow in your footsteps.

"To know and follow hard after You.
To grow as Your disciple in the Truth.
This world is empty, pale and poor,
Compared to knowing You, my Lord,
Lead me on and I will run after You."