Nine years ago last night I received a haunting phone call from one of my best and brightest PhD students. He had been in the very first course I taught at Southeastern, an elective on Early Christianity that eventually launched almost a dozen PhD students.
I had just fallen asleep when the phone rang. I fumbled around to find the phone on the bedside table.
The voice said, “Steve, this is Keith Griffin. Sorry to call so late.”
Then a long pause.
“My son is gone.”
My dear friend went on to tell me that is teenage son was killed in a car accident. He was a passenger in a truck that was hit by another motorist. Ben was killed. Ben’s mom, dad, and two sisters were devastated. I was heartbroken.
Last weekend I drive down the road where Ben’s life was taken from him. Ginger and I talked glowingly of our young friend and his family. Sadly, we are not as close as we once were, but there are often in our hearts and prayers.
There are three things I remember about Ben.
First, he loved my kids. He was like an older cousin to them, especially Lachlan. Lachlan, just a little man at the time, looked up to Ben like a hero. Here was a teenage boy who gave his attention to a little boy. Not annoyed. Not put out.
Second, Ben loved baseball. I saw him play several times. He was excellent. I remember driving to Henderson one night to see him play. As a dad with three kids who love the diamond, I’ll always remember Ben’s love for the game.
Finally, and most importantly, Ben loved Jesus. He was a kind and gentle soul because of his love for the Gospel. As Christians we are confident of a future resurrection when those who have faith in Christ, who confess our Triune God, will be raised to eternal life. With Ben’s dear family we long for that future resurrection, suffering in the wilderness until that day.
We pray for Keith, Pam, Melanie, and Erin. Along with all those who knew and love Ben.
Children shouldn’t die. By any means. And when they do darkness rules the day until the Son of God returns to make things right.