When God Calls Us Home

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present or things to come, nor powers, nor height, not depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

My dad used to say, “You never know the last time you’ll dance.” How true a statement, whether it’s dancing, traveling, or anything else. Because when God calls us home, we go. His timing is perfect from a heavenly perspective. The earthly view is sometimes harder to understand.

God called our friend, Gary Caldwell, home on September 6th at the age of 43. His passion was for the victims of human trafficking, and he tirelessly pursued the dream of saving people from this horror in a variety of ways over the years.

He and his wife, Bekah, had a motel ministry. They visited motels and hotels both large and small, and held informational classes to teach workers and managers what to look for when guests checked in and there were any concerns raised about a child’s safety. They were part of anti-trafficking groups, traveled, and spoke to everyone on the topic.

A lifelong lover of film, Gary heard about a documentary being made about trafficking in Pennsylvania. He contacted those in charge, began to help—including acting in a few scenes—and ended up co-producing the award-winning film, From Liberty to Captivity.  Although he loved his family, biking, and puns, his focus on the least and the lost never wavered.

The question has to be asked:

“Why, Lord?”

“Why this servant who is humbly doing so much good in the world? Why a man so young, with years ahead to continue his work for You? Why not one of the multitude of sick, aged, and infirm who long daily to meet You?”

The cop-out answer is easy. God is sovereign. He makes perfect choices. He’s the boss. Period. Although true, it’s not very satisfying. The confusion remains. Not just when Gary died, but when a little girl is kidnapped and murdered, when a teen is driven to suicide, when drugs decimate the city.

There are some other things to consider, things that are tough sells to we human beings. As sinful and chaotic as this world may be—and getting worse as moral lines are blurred and erased—we all cling to what we know. Family.  Friends. Chocolate. Church. Sunshine. Pillows. Milkshakes. Beauty. Dancing. Simply put, we tend to fear change, even given the promise of heaven.

But for those who love Jesus, there is nothing that compares to the glory that awaits us. And the only way to get there, is to die here.

What about those of us who are left behind to grieve? Heads know that our loved ones are in the arms of Jesus. We want to be in the arms of our loved ones. It is in Jesus’ arms—there or here—that the blessings pour out. That’s hard to grasp in hearts that hurt, in stomachs that can’t hold food, in eyes that flow with tears.

The reality is that we have been called to surrender to God’s will. It is perfect. In situations such as tragic loss, perfect is not a word that even makes sense. It shouldn’t, from an earthly perspective. We may never know what God is accomplishing by our sorrow, our suffering, our heartache. But we can be assured that His purpose will stand. And that He only wants good for His people.

Words can be empty. Unless they come from Scripture. If we spend time reading the Bible, focusing on promises, provisions, and perfection, He will illuminate the words for us. Sense can be made of the senseless as we grieve in a healthy way, within the circle of Christ’s love.

Our prayers at SEAPC go out to Gary’s wife, family, and friends. And we know that in the fullness of God’s timing, they will be together again.

Gary, well done, good and faithful servant.

About the Author
Laurel Houck image

Laurel Houck

Laurel Houck has been traveling on the SEAPC Medical Team for over eight years. In 2018 she came on-board as the Medical Liaison. She serves to build the healthcare platform through recruitment of practitioners, coordination of medical missions, and development of funding streams to sustain this component.