A HOPELESS SUNDAY
“Hey Patrick, what are you up to?” Patrick turned to look at me and with the usual smile on his face, he replied, “Nothing really. Just waiting for a place to serve.” It was just like him.
Thirteen-year-old Patrick loved to serve God around the church building whether it was putting out tables, stacking chairs, or doing miscellaneous errands. That Sunday morning, I invited him to join us at the prayer room for a time of intercession before the worship service started. He followed behind me eager to join us in meeting God in prayer. Little did I know that several months later, God would bring Patrick home to heaven.
So far it was the worst phone call I have ever received as a pastor. It was 3 AM on a Sunday morning. The caller, a colleague of mine, informed me that Patrick had died in a tragic accident the evening before. After putting the phone down, I wept deeply. As a pastor, I care deeply for every member of my congregation. Patrick was a young and vibrant member of my church family. It was hard to come to grips with the fact that Patrick was gone.
I somehow found the strength to get out of the house and make my way to the church. I was scheduled to preach that morning but I knew I was in no condition to do so. Every person that I greeted at the church brought forth tears and raw emotion in me. A dark cloud of sadness and grief began to hover over the congregation as news of Patrick’s passing spread among the people.
An older pastor who was also on staff took the lead in adjusting our worship service that morning. We sang a simple hymn and the older pastor launched into a simple message. After his message, he looked at me and asked if I could say a few words of encouragement to the congregation. I nodded. As a pastor, I knew I had to somehow bring hope back into the lives of people during what seemed to be a hopeless situation.
I carried my personal journal with me up to the stage and found the entry dated May 17, 2015. There were four simple lines in that entry that pertained to Patrick.
“Today, Patrick accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. It was awesome to witness that. Praise the Lord. His journey has begun.”
I stood in front of the congregation that morning bearing testimony to having witnessed Patrick declare with his own mouth that Jesus was his Lord and Savior. The story of how it happened was simple yet meaningful.
Ever since I invited Patrick to the prayer room that one Sunday morning, he had been joining us regularly to seek God in prayer. On May 17, I came late to the prayer meeting. Patrick and one of the Elders of the church were already there at the prayer room. I came right in the middle of the Elder sharing the gospel clearly and succinctly to Patrick. After the gospel was presented, Patrick accepted Christ then and there. The Elder asked me if I could pray for Patrick. I sat beside Patrick and decided I wanted to hear his profession of faith clearly for myself. I asked him some questions with one of them being, “Do you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” He looked at me and with confidence answered that he did believe. I remember praying for Patrick and his freshly confessed faith and the spiritual journey that he was about to embark on. I remember him being so delighted to now be a part of God’s eternal family. About two months after his profession of faith, Patrick was taken to his eternal home in heaven.
I looked at my grieving church family and confidently declared that Patrick was now with the Lord. Patrick’s clear profession of faith and the assurance we have in Christ’s sacrifice, resurrection, and salvation gave hope to many teary-eyed souls that seemingly hopeless morning.
We were greatly comforted in the fact that Patrick was now with the Lord.
Although I miss Patrick greatly, I know I will be reunited with my brother in Christ one day. See you later, Patrick.
Brian Yu has been serving as a pastor for over eight years. He was a former youth pastor at Greenhills Christian Fellowship in the Philippines and he now ministers in the diverse city of Toronto, Canada.