Funny how life works. Casey Bird recently passed on July 4, 2017, at 2:14 pm. Casey worked for and with me at InMotion Hosting. I was the department manager who oversaw his work. More importantly, Casey was a friend. Since his passing, I have thought a lot about him, his life, and how it has affected me.
See, working in technology, it can be difficult to talk about your faith in Jesus Christ. To be honest, I don’t recall a single conversation with Casey about our shared faith. In hindsight, and it’s always 20/20, I regret not speaking about Jesus to him. However, I see Christ in him and his life and ultimately his death.
I pondered how I may react to Casey’s passing. Just two weeks ago, he was sitting next to me in the office. And in those last two weeks, walking by his desk, I was reminded he may never return. I was reminded of the finality of death without faith. Amazing how, in the last two weeks, someone I’ve never spoken to about Jesus has renewed my faith. Casey’s legacy with me isn’t one of his works in my department, but one of renewal of faith.
Let me explain…
I have been caught up in the moment of life, a season where I seem to busy to give God the time he deserves, or better said, the time I need with Him. I’ve been living my life without putting much thought to seeking God. Don’t get me wrong, I show up to church, and connect to the sermons I’ve heard. I’ve even prayed – somewhat irregularly usually when I feel as though I’ve needed God’s intervention.
These last two weeks, I was reminded how much I need God. Casey’s untimely illness has led to a whirlwind of emotions. I’m generally a guy, when something is broken I want to fix it. Casey in the hospital is no different. I remember visiting him for the first time. I knew I wasn’t capable of fixing him. I told him, not to worry about work matters, his job was to work on getting healthy. I told him I would take care of what I could at the office so he didn’t need to worry about it. This was all I could do. Well, not really. I knew in my heart I could pray. And I was reminded that Sunday at church that I know not God’s plan and the future on this earth is not promised. For some reason, I kept going back to that when I prayed for Casey. I guess we’d call it divine intervention. God speaking to me through a sermon and giving me comfort. Why not knowing the future would be comforting I’m not sure. I do know, knowing this future, or better said, Casey’s future wasn’t grounded in a doctor or hospital. Casey’s life and death were grounded in Jesus Christ. Knowing God was in control was and is comforting.
I remember praying for Casey and his family. I think about praying that they were okay. They were okay with God’s will. That they were soothed knowing Casey would be with the Father in Heaven. This was an answered prayer. I got to see this answered in “real time” as Casey began to get worse. His father, Craig, asked a favor if anyone could pick up Casey’s sister Carrie. I felt called to help so I agreed to pick her up at the airport.
I was picking up someone I didn’t know to take them to say goodbye to their sibling. I struggled all day to try to find the right words to say to her. Words that would give her comfort and solace. I poured over scripture like a “good Christian” would look for the right Bible verse. In the midst of all that, I found comfort and solace. The passage’s I read put my soul at ease with Casey’s passing.
When I met Casey’s sister, she was easy to talk to. We talked about work and what Casey did for the company. We talked about silly things like her flight and the surrounding area where we live. I guess in retrospect, we both needed a somewhat light-hearted conversation. I’m thankful for the short time I got to spend with Carrie Jean.
I got to see Casey one final time, 14 hours before his passing, 11:30 pm on July 3rd. He didn’t look like Casey. His snarky attitude wasn’t there. His smile was missing. I’m glad I got to make peace and say my goodbye in that final visit.
In all this, I wasn’t angry with God. It’s often the question I hear most from non-Believers when faced with death. How can your God take someone away? How is that good? What a cruel God I must have!
Casey’s death taught me that God is good all the time, even in death. Casey’s death brought me closer to God. Even in a situation where the end result wasn’t what all of us wanted, God used that to draw me closer to Him. I was able to re-connect to my belief and while I thought I was doing something good for Casey’s family, God used that to re-ignite my spirit. Casey’s death wasn’t in vain. I got to experience Jesus Christ, through Casey, without us ever speaking about our belief.
What an amazing Father we have!
I feel blessed to be a part of Casey’s life and death. For God loved me so much he was willing to use a tough moment here on earth, like Casey’s passing, to strengthen my spirit and renew my faith.
As I am writing this, I think of all the answered prayers. I think of how I prayed for Casey’s family. I think about how incredibly uplifting Casey’s father, Craig was. How he taught me that the sting of death, the pain of losing a child, can bring glory to God. How his strength was an answer to prayer.
I am reminded of the 30-minute car ride with his sister, Carrie Jean. I prayed that afternoon for God to give me the right words to say to her and to find some way to provide comfort to her in what ultimately, was a horrible situation to have to face. In the end, it was being compassionate and human that made the car ride bearable. Me fretting about what to say, was me getting in the way of God. But God, taking that worry from me and having me pour through Bible passages to find the right thing to say. Somehow, God had restored my faith in His word and I was again reading my Bible. It still baffles me, how God can figure out, I didn’t need some life-changing scripture for Carrie. She needed real conversation. I needed the Scripture I was researching.
When I look back at the time I’ve spent with Casey, I see Jesus Christ. Without a word spoken between us about our mutual faith, he was able to affect mine. In Casey’s death, I have found life and I’m eternally grateful.