Those were the words of Reverend Pete Belmain during his benediction at our 5th Annual Hope Rides Alone Family Reunion Banquet in honor of my son, Sergeant Eddie Jeffers. It was on a Wednesday, September 19, 2007 that Eddie breathed his last breath on an Iraqi desert floor outside of Ramadi, Iraq. Normally before our banquet my grief returns and I weep for him. That didn’t really happen this year…until this morning. It happened when I read my oldest daughter Tiffany’s Facebook post honoring her brother:
I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach. It’s the same pit that has shown up every morning on this day for the last 5 years. I can’t believe it’s really been 5 years….I know God had a bigger plan for you, but it’s still hard to think about what happened on this day not so long ago. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten and neither will you my precious brother….I love you and we miss you every day.
I’m weeping now as I write this and it is not from missing Eddie. That is an everyday occurrence. I weep knowing my girls grieve for their brother, that at times they feel robbed.
But we all are comforted by what Bro Pete recollected last Saturday night at the banquet. He was in Afghanistan serving his last tour overseas when he heard of Eddie’s passing. Many thoughts came into his head, but the one that is most comforting to my family is Pete’s thought, “My brother has gone home.”
Eddie was my brother too; my brother-in-Christ. It is a unique relationship when your adult son is a Christian. It is that relationship I miss the most. Eddie was my best male friend; he was also my hero. And while I miss him dearly, I am reminded of my youngest daughter Becky’s words the day her brother was killed and she called me after she had found out. So distraught and weeping uncontrollably, saying “Daddy I don’t know what to do.” That broke my heart; it still does. But then just as quickly her next words brought a soothing salve for the last ones: “I know he wouldn’t come back even if he could.”
Becky could speak those words because she knew, “My brother has gone home.” We all know that. We know that because God’s Word, spoken by His only begotten Son, assures us:
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
Do you believe this? Do you? We do; it is our comfort today. Five years is such along time; it is such a short time. It is a fleeting time. Time on earth is short; it is getting shorter. Earth’s time as we know it is short. Are you ready? Although Eddie’s death was a shock, it was a reality we all faced. But some have lost loved ones unexpectedly and for those who know Christ, and for those who depart this earth knowing Christ, those of us left behind can say, “My brother…my sister…has gone home.”
It is like that not because of our belief, but because of the object of our belief. We have this wonderful assurance from the gospel:
“… who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…” (2 Timothy 1:9-10)
Jesus has abolished death. For the unsaved man or woman the most precious thing he or she has, the one thing they will do whatever it takes to keep, is their last breath. For we who are redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ, the most precious thing we have is our salvation that brings eternal life that allows us to although grieve, we can also rejoice when a loved one “has gone home.” Glory to God my family and friends can say on this day, today…the 5th anniversary… “My brother has gone home.”
Would you be able to say that?
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers