By Mallory Sherwood, Features Editor
Unveiling the Mask
An 11-year-old boy full of life, laughter and promise is dead after a terrible automobile accident. Brody Bourland was in the sixth grade at Franklin Middle School. A week has passed since the vehicle he was traveling in rolled on I-20, injuring seven other passengers. Questions linger in the minds of all who have heard of his death.
Why God? Why a boy who probably still had homework to finish for Monday, an unmade bed at home and parents and brothers awaiting his return? How does one explain to a young boy his brother won’t be coming home? How does one console the kids who watched helplessly from behind, or the other passengers in the suburban who couldn’t say good-bye to their friend?
These questions will remain unanswered. They are left to torment and challenge us. Jim Hinkle, youth minister at Highland Church of Christ shared this thought Sunday, “This is not the way it was supposed to happen, but God has not abandoned us. ”
God has not abandoned us? How do you explain that as friends and family trickle onto the stage to light more than 100 candles in memory of Brody? Where was God? When I thought about it, I realized that of course God was there. Death will never make sense to us fragile humans.
Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family wrote in his book, When God Doesn’t Make Sense, “If we truly understood the majesty of the Lord and the depth of his love for us, we would certainly accept those times when He defies human logic and sensibilities. Indeed, that is what we must do. ”
In an attempt to try to accept Brody’s death, I want to share what Hinkle called “Emmanuel moments” on Sunday, regarding the accident.
First, on the last day, the morning the group traveled back, Brody was one of many young adolescents who publicly dedicated his life to Christ.
Second, after the accident occurred, two of the boys who lay in neck braces on the side of the road were able find comfort in the fact they would be there for each other no matter what.
Third, two of the teens who were released from Hendrick hospital, were able to attend Brody’s funeral and be hugged and loved on by Brody’s parents.
Finally, the group of friends who helplessly watched from the vehicle behind the SUV, have formed a bond and understand more than most people what it is like to be in a community of believers.
God has not abandoned us. He did not abandon those involved in the accident, he has not abandoned Brody, and he will not abandon those left behind who love and miss him.
Many members entered church grieving on Sunday, but probably left with a renewed feeling of hope. I know I did. Brody Bourland may not still be with his family and friends here on earth, but he most certainly has entered into his heavenly home.
An e-mail I received from a friend last week who attended Brody’s funeral contained a conversation between Brody’s younger brother, Brock, and someone else who attended the funeral.
Brody’s last purchase was a Notre Dame four-leaf-clover hat for Brock. He has yet to take it off, even for the funeral. Somebody told him that the hat must not have been too lucky, but Brock responded by saying that his older brother was the luckiest, because he is now with Jesus.
Brody has not been abandoned and neither have we; Brody is now with Jesus.