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Airdrie pastor reflects on a local family’s and community’s loss

By: Tim W. Callaway

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 12:23 pm

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Sad news of the recent death of former Airdrie resident, Jessica Lynn Joy, in a motor vehicle accident on a Michigan highway comes as a shock. Jessica, the older daughter of Scott and Linda Joy, grew up in this community while Scott was pastor at Faith Community Baptist Church during the 1990s.

Several thoughts have crossed my mind as I’ve listened to conversations planning for a memorial service for Jessica.

That gathering will occur at the church this Friday evening, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m. and is open to everyone, particularly the many friends Jessica acquired during her school years here.

Another year begins with our congregation again being painfully reminded that, indeed, bad things happen to good people.

To be even more precise in this instance, bad things happen to people of faith, to people who speak of, sing of and trust in God as their provider and protector. Jessica, 23, excelled as a singer and songwriter declaring her deep trust in God. Accordingly, when a tragedy such as this befalls someone just setting sail on life’s sea of potential, it’s difficult not to wonder “why?” Why has this occurred and why to someone whose faith was nurtured by Scriptures which declare “my God is my rock, in whom I find protection?” (Psalm 18:2)

I certainly do not have definitive answers to those questions. A couple of comments, however, may be of some value in this regard.

Over the years, I’ve come to believe that asking “why?” in response to the stunning inequities of our human experience is perhaps best interpreted not as a statement of anger or distrust but as a blunt affirmation of faith under siege.

As far as I know, no one has ever suggested life is always fair or just.

When confronted with the reality of what we view as a “premature” or “untimely” death, choking out a troubled “why” can indicate we seek answers and solace in a frame of reference beyond that naturally encountered in this life. “Why” might therefore be construed as a visceral appeal to something or someone beyond the limited capabilities and vantage point of anything or anyone in this world. For, let us not forget, it was within the crucible of this very thing we call human experience that Christ himself uttered “why?” as he tried to come to terms with dying on the cross.

Tim W. Callaway is pastor at Faith Community Church, Airdrie.


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