1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (New International Version)
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Michael Ellsessar was an athlete whose own school was so small he ended up playing varsity sports at three different high schools. A good athlete, he was also involved in church activities and community organizations.
All things being said, Ellsessar was a fine young man, the kind of all-round, good kid you hope your child will become. This explains, in part, why he is going to be missed.
It's true. Ellsessar is no longer with us. A few weeks ago he was killed while playing a varsity football game. His was a freak accident that happened when he was tackled after having caught a pass.
After the hit, Ellsessar got up, collapsed, and even the EMTs couldn't revive him.
The doctors said Ellsessar had a better chance of dying from a lightning strike than he did dying this way. Even so, he is dead.
Thinking back upon the pain he's endured these last weeks, John, Ellsessar's father said, "Hug your kids. Keep them close, and watch out for them." Then the father added this: "No parent deserves to bury their 16-year-old son. It is devastating."
John Ellsessar's advice is wise. Too often people stay tight-lipped and don't share or show how they feel with those they love. Then the day comes when it is too late for anything to be said.
But there's another thing John Ellsessar mentioned. It is that last line: "No parent deserves to bury their son. It is devastating." Our Heavenly Father would agree. After all, He didn't deserve to watch His Son die on Calvary's cross for a lost world, and Jesus didn't deserve to die for a race that had rejected Him.
Jesus didn't deserve death, but I am thankful He gave His life for my salvation. His undeserved death has brought about undeserved salvation for countless millions.
And that includes Michael Ellsessar. Jesus died an unfair death so he might live, and that is comfort for his father and all who mourn.
Thank the Lord He gives us His grace and not the justice we deserve.
Dear Lord, we thank you for giving Your Son's life for our forgiveness. We ask you to accept our unending gratitude for all You do. In Jesus' Name. Amen.