I pray the day is finding you well.
I want to tell you a story about a friend of mine.
When Laurie and I bought our home, we came into relationship with the sellers. We had the Rader girls over to our house for an afternoon. I first heard about Caryn’s son Matthew that afternoon.
Matthew is an amazing person. When he was younger, he was a vivacious, outgoing young man that everybody loved. He had an infectious smile and a great personality. He was the type of guy that you just wanted to be around. When Matthew was 19 years old, he had a massive heart attack. Before the doctors could revive him he had oxygen deprivation and he could no long speak or move. In fact, the doctors did not think he would survive, but he did.
Even though Matthew could no long move or speak, that did not stop him. In fact he was just getting started. He had one thing that was not taken from him, his smile. Matthew smiles all the time. His smile is not just a smile, when you sit with him, you could actually feel the love of Christ radiate from him. It is in his being, it was in his smile.
Caryn, Matthew’s mother shared newspaper articles with me about her son. People would come and sit with Matthew when they were depressed. After spending time with Matthew, this person who could not move, could not speak, and all he did was smile; these people would leave the room not depressed anymore. Matthew is an amazing guy.
Matthew reminds me of the Apostle Paul. As impactful as Paul’s ministry was before he was imprisoned; it was after his imprisonment that Paul had his greatest impact. The bars of his cell could not keep him from writing his letters; these are the same letters we read in the New Testament. Paul’s greatest impact was when those who sought to stop him thought they had.
As much as Matthew positively impacted people’s lives will he was still able to move and speak; his greatest impact came when he too was imprisoned, only Matthew was imprisoned in his own mortal body.
Matthew passed away.
I still speak of him in the present tense because I believe in eternal life. All that has happened is that Matthew is no longer imprisoned in a body that is broken. He is now free. I know that Matthew is happy in Heaven. I will miss Matthew, just as everyone who has been touched by this amazing young man will miss him.
I just wanted to tell you a little bit about my friend.
I will be talking with Matthew’s family later today. I have been asked to say a few words at his graveside. I am humbled by the request.
Every so often, we meet people that truly move us and make us want to be better. I am so grateful that I met Matthew, I will try to be better.