"Walk By Faith, Not By Sight" 2 Corinthians 5:7
On July 20, 2014, something terrible and unexpected happen, something that is all too common, though we never expect it to affect those close to us; a car accident, one that was horrific. I received a phone call on Sunday from my mom informing me of the terrible news. In the early hours of the morning a dear friend of mine was in a devastating car crash with three other individuals. Emily Aultman, a light to the world, and a young soul of only 19 was killed as a semi crashed into the overturn car that had lost control. The other individuals survived.
Emily and I first met in dance class at Destiny Dance Center, where we both were learning hip hop. She was younger than I am, but held a sense of fun, laughter, and maturity both with life and with her faith that no matter how many years separated us, we were still kindred spirits. Emily’s love for Jesus illuminated any room that she entered, her smile being a beacon for such light. Her life highlighted this love, being completely dedicated to the Lord through activities, such as Young Life. She knew that no matter where life was headed, it was always for the glory of God, and that can be seen today.
As I scroll through her FaceBook profile, her impact is solidified. God has used this beautiful young lady in so many ways possible, allowing her to be a vessel for His love, mercy, and grace. It hurts knowing that someone whom I love dearly is gone, but I find peace knowing where her faith rested.
When I got off the phone with my mom on Sunday, I curled up under Josh’s arms and cried. It took me a moment to even process the information, and even today, I look at pictures of her thinking of how unreal it is. She was so young! I think that is why I am having a hard time processing, but for God, age is not the deal breaker/maker. I expressed to Josh how sad I was knowing that a close fried of mine is gone, but also expressed how I was rejoicing, knowing her destination.
Emily was a strong believer of Jesus Christ. She, like I, believed that God sent his only son, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, to die on the cross to save us from our sins and death, which would result in eternity in hell, if it weren’t for our Savior. God asks and allows us to spend eternity with Him in heaven as long as we believe that he is the one true savior and that apart from him we are nothing. All we have to do is repent of our sins. Like any relationship, though, our relationship with God should continue to grow, and we should seek out more about the knowledge of the truth of the gospel, which can be learned by reading the Bible, speaking to theological mentors, praying, and so much more.
I told Josh all of this, letting him know that I was going to be okay because I know where she is now. He was rejoicing with me, knowing that not only did Emily know God, but that I do too, and I can find comfort and peace, resting in His grace and understanding. Josh and I discussed more the topic of death and funerals, discussing how non believers may be hurting more, not knowing where she is, or where they will be. I pray that this will be a testimony for all who knew Emily, and that through the pain and hurt of earthly death, those who do not know Christ will see him through Emily’s life.
I don’t know exactly what Heaven will be like, or what Emily is exactly seeing and experiencing right now, but I do know that it is more wonderful than anything we can ever imagine. Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed.” I think this verse can apply to life after death with Christ, as well as the ends of time (which it is often interpreted with). Being in God’s presence will wipe away all the hurt and pain, distress, regrets, and hopelessness we have as humans. We will be so overwhelmed by his glory that all else will fade and we will glorify him continuously. Revelation 5:13 says, “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying” “To him who sits on the throne and to the lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” I know Emily is sitting at the right hand of God, praising him and worshiping him and singing of his glory!
Around this time last year, I lost another friend Melissa Boyett to Cystic Fibrosis. Emily also had a strong friendship with Melissa, and her heart longed to have just one more conversation with her sister-in-Christ. God knew, and I just imagine Melissa and Emily dancing in joy for God.
Philippians 3:14 reads, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” This verse speaks to me as I reflect on you and your time on earth. You whole life was centered on Jesus and His love, which I find to be such an encouragement from day-to-day. I am going to miss you terribly, but I know some day we will be reunited. In the meantime, the smile you wear in all your pictures will act as a reminder of how to live for Jesus. I love you, sweet friend. And I am praising the Lord that you are home and are away from the earthly pain and hurt here on earth.
Dear Father, we are hurting at the loss of our dear friend, Emily. I know there were many others who knew her better than I and must be torn apart and heart-broken from her death. Lord, I pray that you will show them peace and comfort, and that when they reflect on Emily’s life here on earth, that they will see You, and be drawn to your love and grace. Lord, I may not understand why she left us at a young age, but I know that You declared it was her time to return home to her Father in Heaven and I rejoice. Lord, your love is amazing. Thank you for showing us your love through people like Emily. Amen.