I checked the online news this morning and saw that last night, federal agents had arrived at a lobbyist's house, preparing to arrest him for various charges when they heard a gunshot from inside. They stormed the apartment and found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
That sounds like everyday news... But it was a weird feeling this morning to KNOW the guy in the news...
I immediately thought back to an evening in a resturant with this very lobbyist when he took a couple of my friends and I out to dinner not too long ago... Another conversation with him in a Capitol office where he spent much of his time. I remember distinctly thinking over that dinner, "This guy is miserable.What do I say to turn the conversation to things of eternal importance? He wants what we have, but he doesn't even know what it is that he wants..."
The conversation was goofy as David ordered exotic seafood for everyone. One of the representatives who had come along kept thinking of outlandish things to report as lobbyist gifts - like 5 gallon buckets of fresh asparagus and blueberries. It wasn't a bad conversation, just dumb and pointless.
I wanted so badly to say something of value to David, but it never seemed appropriate with the conversation, and I barely got a word in edgewise. I didn't say anything.
Little did I know that David would be in eternity less then a year later. Little did I know the last time I talked to him that I would never see him again until I see him standing before the Great White Throne. If I had known, would I have acted differently? Would I have said something else? Would I have interrupted the goofiness at dinner to ask everyone what is most important to them in life? Of course, we can play those guilty questions over and over again in our head as we think of a thousand, "If onlys."
I cannot change the past. I cannot have one last conversation with him or drop a book in the mail to him, or... But I can change the way I live my life this minute and in the future. I have new opportunities tomorrow. Not just people who are busy, depressed, happy, famous, poor, lost, popular, smart, annoying... They are all souls that will spend eternity somewhere. I could wake up and find any of them in the newspaper tomorrow. And God may have put them in front of me because I know the truth, and it is my responsibility to share it, rather than hoard it.
If only David could sing this hymn. But he can't, and he never will. But there are other David's in the world who need the truth so that they can sing this song and know in the very depths of their heart that though their "soul is night, [their] heart is steel... There's all a guilty sinner needs forevermore in Jesus."