In 1992, a young man (ten days short of being seven) asked his Pastor to baptize him. His Pastor asked if he believed that Jesus died for his sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, but that His Father had raised Him from the dead, just as the Scriptures had foretold, he said yes. After counseling with him to insure he understood that baptism did not save him, but that his faith in Jesus did, he was baptized on April 19th.
For a few years, he displayed great interest in the Bible and attending church, but when his family moved to another state, the Pastor no longer knew if his early enthusiasm continued, or not. But by the time he was twelve, he had become too difficult for his single mother to handle. She asked the Pastor if he would be willing to raise him, and from the age of twelve to eighteen, the Pastor had not only accepted him as his own son, but made sure he was enrolled in a Christian school. He was still rebellious while living with the Pastor, so much so that the police were called to "scare him straight."
By the time he was eighteen, he had become so disrespectful of the Pastor and his wife, that he was returned to his mother's home. There, she, still being unable to control him, had him placed into a mental hospital for three weeks, and when he was released, he returned to live with the Pastor. Finally, after graduating from high school, he met a girl, rented an apartment, and they lived together, until they were finally married about a year later. After having three children, his wife divorced him, and moved away. His two oldest children lived with him, and the third was born after she left him.
The young man began working a series of jobs, and even worked for quite a while at the Toyota plant in Kentucky. But having lost his wife, he began drinking, and eventually lost his job, had a couple of fender-benders, and moved back in with his mother. His life was a mess, but one night, he went to his mother's room crying, and asked her to pray for him to get right with God. Things quickly changed, but within two weeks, the was killed in a fatal car wreck.
At his funeral, one-by-one, several young friends of his told the Pastor how he had changed, even holding a Bible study with some of them. It was then that the Pastor remembered two passages of Scripture: Hebrews 12 says that God disciplines His children, something that was clearly happening to the young man; and 1 Corinthians 11, which says that God increases His discipline from allowing "weakness, sickness, and finally death" for His wayward child. God must have decided that he had messed up his life so badly, that in His mercy, he called him home. The Pastor understood that he would one day see the young man again, and that they would spend eternity together loving their Lord and Savior. There is such peace in knowing where one's loved one is!
Today would have been Corey's thirty-second birthday, and I, as the Pastor and his grandfather, know that he is where all Christians long to be; with the Lord! I love you Corey!