Today in the United Kingdom there is shock and dismay following a terror attack in Manchester, England. It is feared that many of the victims were children and teenagers. Over the past few days there has also been shock in our own home town with the sudden and tragic passing of a young 15 year old girl. By contrast, yesterday I attended the funeral of a 90 year old lady. Looking back to when I was 15....around the age of those who have lost their lives....it was this lady who first initiated the opportunity for me to play the organ in Sunday School. A few months later I played on Children's Day and that led to me playing on a weekly basis over many years to come, not only in Children's Meetings and Church Services but also in missions, at weddings and at funerals....even my own dad's funeral! Playing the organ was the first real ministry I had for the Lord and I suppose that's why I always gave it my best and never said no when asked. This lady was also the one who led my mum to the Lord. Her husband led my dad to the Lord and preached on the night I was saved.
So here we have an elderly lady who has been unwell for some time and yet, we have young people who have died with no warning whatsoever. I am reminded of the story of the child who asked his dad to tell him what age people are when they die. The father handed the little boy some string and told him to go around the cemetery and measure the headstones. The little boy did just that. When he had finished, the father asked him what size the headstones were. The little boy replied they were all different sizes; to which the father explained it was just like death; it takes all ages. It surely reminds us of the importance of being ready.
Our hearts today go out to the dear man who lost his wife of many years. Our hearts also go out to the family in our locality who have lost a daughter and to those in England affected by this terrible attack. But our hearts also go out to the families of little children and indeed adults in Kenya and Uganda who have lost their lives due to the great drought. They may not be on our doorstep as some of these other events...but they are still lives which have been lost and there are still families there who weep for the loss of those they love.
We know that each are suffering real pain in their own circumstances and we pray that all will know comfort in these difficult days.
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regular updates and thoughts from Northern Ireland and Africa...