Summary: There is no one word that describes our emotions this past Tuesday. Dismay… Shock… Certainly fear. If we are honest, we feel rocked, overwhelmed, upset and confused.
This message was written for a sixteen year old young man who took his life.
The Rogers family had read this verse on Monday evening together the night before Caleb’s passing. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
We praise You above the all things. You are the truest joy and delight of our lives even in the midst of such overwhelming tragedy.
God, we ask that You would give this family peace and comfort. I pray that you cover them with your wings where they will find refuge. Grant them Your presence and may they feel the rich warmth of Your embrace. May the Holy Spirit comfort them as Jesus promised.
Cause their minds to sing praise to you and remind them of Your graciousness in giving them Caleb for these sixteen years. May their conservations be filled with the rich memories of his joy in You. Cause their hope to be renewed and may they mount up on wings like eagles so they will not be weary.
Expand their ministry. Cause them to honor Christ the Lord as holy so they make a defense of the Gospel to anyone who asks them (1 Peter 3:15). May this experience open up opportunities to share Christ’s love for sinners in new venues. May they comfort others who have walked this lonely road (2 Corinthians 1). Give them wisdom to map the days ahead so they live wisely.
Give us wisdom and love for them as they grieve.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Matthew, Susan, Scott, and Alvin – we love you and care for you very much. We are sorry that you are going through this agonizing time of grief. We are deeply saddened by your tremendous loss. There is not one person here who doesn’t wish that we could reverse the events of this past week. We want you to know that you are surrounded by people who are praying for you. To Oakcliffe Baptist Church, on behalf of our entire church, we want you to know that it our joy to minister to you today. We are aware that you are hurting along with your pastor and his family. It’s our prayer that our church and our community can ease your suffering in some small way. Thank you for honoring our church by allowing us to ministering to you at this time. May God be richly merciful to you in your time of grief. Our grief is only heightened when we remember what kind of young man Caleb was. And we were speechless with grief on Tuesday as we heard the news.
Caleb was loved by so many of us. So many people have been sharing fond memories of Caleb over the past few days. Only yesterday, his brother Alvin recalled how Caleb and he were going to eat on a Friday night just this summer and hitting golf balls at the driving rage. As of this morning, I found two groups in memory of Caleb Rogers on Facebook with nearly 1,000 members. I believe I read each of the posts on the wall. Each of one of the posts present there was a testimony to the type of young man Caleb was. His family describes Caleb as a creative songwriter as well as gifted at writing fiction. You could often hear him in his room playing back the music he was writing on his computer. His creative bent caused him to enjoy making movies where everyone laughed together. He enjoyed gathering his friends together for impromptu fun in both making movies and watching them.
Yet, for all of his creative force he was also very disciplined. Caleb would often get his school assignments done much earlier than necessary. This discipline caused him to be detail-oriented and even caused him to think about the military academy as a possible choice for his secondary education. Even small children loved him. As the extended family frequently gathered together, his second cousins would follow him like a Pied Piper. He would build tents with the small children inside the house and allowed them to ride his back. They would build with Lego’s together as the children so loved him that they would rush through their dinner in order to play with Caleb.
Whether he was with family or friends, Caleb was very polite. Someone described each of the three brothers as perfect gentlemen. Scott and Andrew described their brother as witty, with a wonderful sense of humor. He was capable of firing back with a comeback when necessary. Caleb was a good student. As a junior, he remains tied for first place in his class. His father and mother described Caleb’s spiritual life as intense and intimate. They talked about being able to see the fruits of the spirit in him: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).