A year and a half after Jeff and Beckie married, four months after Darci's eleventh birthday, and seventeen days before their second Christmas together, Jeff died in an auto accident.
His death obviously hit Beckie and Darci very hard. The radio station, where he served as Operations Manager and on-air personality, reeled. Thousands in the community, who regularly listened to and loved Jeff and his infectious laugh, were stunned and shared in the grief of his family and co-workers.
Sixteen years have passed since then. Beckie is happily remarried. Darci is all grown up, married, and the mother of two. Life goes on.
The Bible says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
We don't always know, in this life, all the ways that God works things out for good in a given situation; but we can often see some of those ways. Jeff's death was no exception.
A few weeks before Jeff and Beckie married, Jeff was motivated to get his affairs in order when a close friend, a man of Jeff's own age and in apparently excellent health, collapsed and died suddenly while jogging with friends.
God had also been at work in choosing a new mom for Darci and giving them time to bond in their mother-daughter relationship before He called Jeff home. And the new mom that He chose was one whose own father had died in an auto accident when she was a little girl.
God also gave Darci a teacher that year, at the Christian school she attended, who had lost her father when she was young and who was able to minister to Darci through her own experience.
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
God asks us to trust Him, even when we can't understand what He's doing, knowing that He loves us enough to have sent His Son to pay sin's penalty for us. That's faith.
Jeff had that absolute faith in his Savior. Those of us who share that faith have the assurance that we will meet again one day. Meanwhile, it's fun to imagine Jeff entertaining the heavenly hosts by doing impressions of the apostles.
Jeff's personal motto was, "my life from HIM...my laughter for HIM."
I'll leave you with another audio clip of Jeff and Char, as poor Char was trying to give a recipe for Mock Chow Mein.