God Nuggets – A Story of Redemption

"His timing is perfect!"

God Nuggets – A Story of Redemption

Greg – On December 3, 2011, I received a call at 3:30 A.M. from a TN Highway Trooper, telling me that our son had been in a bad car wreck but that he was “OK.” He handed the phone to my son. My son said, “Dad, I’m ok, but I need you to come and get me.” A million things rushed through my mind as I drove to the accident scene. Austin was 19 and as father/son relationships go…I was old, set in my ways with my arms crossed, heels dug in and standing my ground on my mature tradition. He was young, adventurous, spreading his wings and flying with his newfound freedom. When I got there, I hugged him and was relieved that he was not hurt or killed. He had fallen asleep on his way home from work. The wreck left the car totaled. After day light, we realized how fortunate he was to survive the crash, because the car had flipped on its top several times and come to a stop in a ditch. He was spared to live another day.

As a father knows (because he went through the same times in our own lives) I knew that my son was struggling with life. As my firstborn, I did not know how to deal with his becoming a man and making wrong decisions. We had grown apart. Without knowing what to say or how to deal with the fact that my little boy was no longer a little boy, I had placed the “Jesus Friend” letter in the front seat of his car that morning before he left the house. I never said anything or told he that I had placed it there. I had the “Jesus Friend” letter since my college days and know that it was 1980’s corny, but it always touched me, so I kept it.

While serving in the Army, our son was killed in a hit and run accident exactly 2 years and 11 days after that horrible night in 2011 and he died a physical death in a ditch.

As we struggled to cope with the grief of losing our son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend, our family leaned on God, but we were always wondering “why?” Why at 21 years and 7 days old? Why on our daughter’s birthday? Why so young and in the prime of life? Why was God’s timing not like our timing?

Several weeks went by and we received Austin’s personal items from the Army. In one of the boxes was the “Jesus Friend” letter framed in a cheap wooden frame. It was his and had meant something to him. So, I hung it on the wall in his room. I never really thought about that morning that I placed it in the seat of his car 2 years earlier.

It was 3 years later, that while my wife Trista and our children were on a trip, I found a special picture of Austin and wanted to frame it. So, I began going through the house to find a frame. I went into Austin’s room and saw the “Jesus Friend” letter on his wall. I took it down and turned it over to remove the back. When I removed the back of the frame it exposed the back of the “Jesus Friend” letter and in Austin’s handwriting it read:

“On December 3rd, 2011, this letter saved my life – Austin”

My heart leaped…I felt a warm “hug like feeling” overcome me. I fell to my knees and wept with tears of joy. Our family has relied on what we call “God Nuggets” to help us through our grief. “God Nuggets” are times when He shows Himself to us to let us know that His hand is in every second of all of our lives.

His timing is perfect! God gave me that “Jesus Friend” letter in college because He knew that I would need it many years later to communicate His love to my son when I could not communicate it. He allowed my son to write “the rest of the story” on the back of that same letter 5 years before he died so that I would know that he is in Heaven with his Lord and his eternal life was “saved” on that December 3rd, 2011 night.

To be honest…none of us know God’s higher ways or timing. Would I like to have my son here on earth physically? You know I would. But would I rather spend eternity with my son in the presence of Jesus? Absolutely!

I share these stories knowing that some people do not read them, knowing that some people are uncomfortable reading them and knowing that some people think that it is self-serving. That is ok.

This is my family’s testimony and how we can honor our son’s life by turning our tragedy into a beautiful story of God’s love for mankind. It is not about Austin or our family. These stories are about God’s amazing grace, love and forgiveness for all of us in His Perfect Timing.

If these stories help just one person trust Jesus and accept Him, then my son’s life was not lived in vain.

"We can honor our son’s life by turning our tragedy into a beautiful story of God’s love for mankind."

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