Two days ago I woke up to find out that two of my friends in Sheffield, England had been killed by a drunk driver. Stephen, 26, was an associate pastor at a church I had the privilege to volunteer at for 6 months. We used to joke around at the office. Sometimes I would get to help lead worship with him. His girlfriend, Mandy, 21, was exuberant, always smiling. The kind of girl it is impossible not to love. They were a couple of the loveliest people you could ever hope to meet.
This picture was taken the night they died.
I found out as I was getting ready for church.
I felt blessed at the timing, as I was able to stand in worship, surrounded by friends, as I wept for my loss, and that of Stephen and Mandy’s family and friends. I wept for what might have been.
The past two days I have been mourning.
I would force myself to get up and do something, but would always make my way back to bed. I couldn’t seem to stop crying. I was exhausted and ill from grieving.
But this morning, something was different. I woke up with inexplicable joy. I truly believe it is God’s grace. I don’t miss Stephen and Mandy any less. But I am full of peace that they are truly in a better place. As the song goes, “No more sorrow, no more pain.”
This blog is meant to be about heroes. About inspiration. Well, over these past few days my hero has been a man named Ben Andrassy.
Honestly, when I heard the news, I was immediately concerned for all of Steve and Mandy’s family and friends, but especially for Ben. You see, Ben was Stephen’s best friend and Mandy’s brother-in-law. He lost a great deal on Saturday night.
But what he didn’t lose was his faith. Over and over again, Ben has been encouraging others these past couple of days. Reminding them that God is still good. That God still has good plans for our lives. Reminding us to choose forgiveness, rather than bitterness. (The drunk driver was not injured.) Reminding us that God is close to the brokenhearted. Imploring us to seek Jesus through the pain.
Choosing love in the midst of the greatest grief has got to be one of the most heroic things a person can do.
That is why today, Ben is my hero. I follow your example, Ben. I don’t know if you know the impact you have, but I honor the way you lead, wherever you are. Thank you.