“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 119:147 NIV
I’m not actually sure how to start writing about this. I’ve gone between a numb sense of distant sadness, faux normalcy and brief periods of sobbing. The night of the accident I received a text from a friend. It was an urgent request for prayer. A semi-truck had severely struck a bus of local hockey coaches and players. Details were sparse. The worst was feared. Prayer from all corners of North America and later the globe ensued.
On April 6, 2018 the bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos, a team in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, crashed fatally leading to the death of fifteen and critical injury to fourteen passengers. The team was traveling for a playoff match before the devastating accident. A team and a town known for their passion for hockey are left utterly broken.
This isn’t a normal, practical and rose-colored post from me. I’m feeling a tremendous sense of mourning for the family known closely by my friend. I cannot fathom the pain of the wife who lost her husband and the father of their two children. Nothing can mend the hearts of the parents who lost their children in this tragedy. No words I can speak will take that deep sorrow away from them. Yet even in the rubble of this mortality shaking scenario I have seen a glimpse of hope.
On social media, from the hospital, a photo of three teammates holding hands in adjacent hospital beds came to light. These brave young survivors from the Humboldt Broncos team bus showed their strength in solidarity. Even in the midst of this dark hour these young men have given hope to their community. The young men and coaches lost in this tragedy will forever be remembered.
God does not promise us a life without sorrow on this side of eternity. I am a positive minded person yet I cannot put a spin on all the pain and suffering of this world. Yet we are promised that through our faith and endurance in this difficult world we shall be rewarded with eternal peace. It may not feel that way now. You may be struggling through difficulties in marriage, health or even loss as seen in this tragic accident. But through faith there is hope.
My friend shared that his lost friend, the team’s head coach Darcy Haugen, was a follower of Jesus and would be eternally saved. He was a man who was said to have been more about creating amazing young men than about building hockey players. The sting of this tragedy is not gone and yet there is still hope. At the vigil honoring the lost members of the Broncos family, Team Chaplain Sean Brandow shared these words with the mourners, "You know how Jesus was who he said he was? His scars. Can we heal? Yes. Will there be scars? Yes." The wounds are fresh today but through faith there is hope as the wounds turn to scars.
I pray that you are reminded of this today. That you savor each breath. You hug your loved ones a little longer. You call that friend or relative to tell them how much you love them. It is in how we live today that we honor those no longer with us. Be strong and courageous like those Humboldt Broncos and honor them. Honor them through your faith and hope with all your might.