It took over an hour to get in the door and then another thirty minutes to reach the casket and the grieving family.
Hundreds of people had come to pay their respects.
Not unusual when a young person dies.
Jimmy would have turned thirty years old later this month.
He is one of my rehab guys.
He stayed clean and sober about two weeks after he finished the program.
My heart cannot stand it.
Once in the building the line wove its way past many photo displays.
Jimmy as a newborn in his mother's arms all the way to Jimmy as a man.
As I looked at all the pictures that chronicled his brief life my sadness deepened.
These pictures represented a person, created by the Living God; a person who had thoughts and ideas, as well as struggles and so much potential.
One picture in particular grabbed me.
Jimmy at maybe five or six years old, all dressed up with a microphone in his hands.
His face held such a sweet expression, so open to the world, so trusting.
A look that held a promise of such a wonderful future.
The young man, whose body was laying in that casket, was cheated out of life.
And life was cheated out of all he had to offer.
Not long before this man finished the rehab program he had shared with me how he was realizing that the missing ingredient for him to sustain recovery was God. He said he had begun to be open to connecting with Him.
That was wonderful news and I, as well as many others, prayed that he would be able to enjoy a relationship with Papa.
I do not know whether he made that connection or not, but I do know that Jesus is always eager to make it happen.
I have a plague hanging on my wall that I received over thirty years ago. It reads,
"Life is fragile, handle with prayer."Every individual life is fragile.
Prayer makes the difference.
I believe that prayer is what brought Jimmy to his realization.
And I believe the One who we prayed to kept His hand on this man all the way to eternity.
He knew what was coming.
He knew how weak my friend was.
He know the lies that had ensnared him.
As I grieve the loss of this precious life I find comfort in my God, who is the God of all comfort.
It is my prayer that all who grieve can experience such comfort too.
"But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more."*