I just found out that a friend and coworker died this last Wednesday; this actually made me cry, and still does if I try to talk about it yet. I don’t know how he died, or what caused his death; I do know of some health issues he had in the past that may have had something to do with this. He was a wonderful man, he had his funny little quirks about him; he was probably about my dad’s age (mid-sixties). This man had a gentle spirit, and actually cared about people (in his own way); he was somebody who was thoughtful, and would really listen to what you had to say, even if in the end he might not agree with what you had to say. This man, Taylor, knew that I was a Christian (it was hard for folks to not know), and he seemed to respect that; but he was not a Christian, and he did not accept the love of Christ for himself. When I found out I had cancer, there was an interim period between the time I found out that I had a large mass, and finding out what the biopsy said it was (this was a hellish bit of time). Taylor, in his own non-Christian way (and I highlight ‘non-Christian’ simply because Taylor consciously rejected Christ for himself) ministered to me during that time. I was still working during that period, so everyone knew that I was just waiting to find out what exactly I had (i.e. what type of cancer); and Taylor (like so many I worked with—an amazing group of people!) listened to me, and tried to comfort me the best he could.
What makes this so tragic, and different for me; is that I have never really known anyone as well as I knew Taylor (I spent hours with him for approx. 4 years at work), who has died outside of Christ (now it is possible in the time since I have worked with Taylor (approx. 3 years), that he came to Christ)—I truly hope so!! But this is why this is so gut wrenching and simply sad to me. I so appreciated Taylor, he was a constant presence at Toyota (i.e. literally, he never ever called in sick!). My grief is without hope, except for the chance that he did in fact come to a saving knowledge of Jesus in these past 3 years.
What a time to reflect upon a life lived. Easter time is all about death and resurrection, and the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. There is a hope, a real hope, and his name is Jesus. Taylor is still in the hands of Jesus, he can never be totally separate from Jesus’ life; since Jesus pledged his life for Taylor’s. So even though Taylor died outside of Christ (e.g. as far as I know he never trusted Jesus for himself), ultimately and objectively Taylor will never be outside of Christ, because the grace of God in Christ is expansive, even into the utter absence of that life subjectively realized for the individual; in this case, for Taylor. I can’t think of a better quote to leave this post with than what I have displayed in my sidebar offered by Thomas Torrance. You will be missed, Taylor, but never forgotten. Jesus will never forget you!