Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sad, But Ultimately Not Tragic


Yesterday, we received an email from a friend/missionary/church family member about a fellow missionary and his physical needs. Hugo Liborio had collapsed and received emergency medical treatment. The email informed us of specific diagnosis, but also that the outlook was not positive. About 24 hours later, we received another sad email, informing us that Hugo had gone home with the Lord. (Official word from SCORE can be found here.)

Hugo died at 29 years of age. He had a young bride, Sarah, and left behind two little children, Matias and Layla, a preschooler and a newborn. In fact, they were in the states for the birth of his daughter and recovery when his aneurysm ruptured. Obviously, prayers for comfort for his family and mission agency are greatly appreciated.

Death should always cause grief and remind us of the harmful, painful effects of sin. However, for the believer, it also reminds us of hope, for Christ has defeated death and will reconcile all things to Himself. The day is coming when this earth will be rid of all of the effects of sin! And currently, Hugo is enjoying glorification in ways that we still groan to experience.

It may be tempting for some to think, Wow, only 29. What a tragedy!

However, while Hugo's death certainly feels tragic, there is nothing tragic about his life. Consider the following:

      While it is sad to think of the few years of marriage he and Sarah enjoyed, what a grace from God that those few years were saturated with a devotion to Christ and His gospel. Their marriage was marked and oriented around a motivation to see Christ exalted that caused their living place and conditions to be radically changed. Their marriage started every morning with the reminder that they are His ambassadors and exist to do his work.

      It is probable that his two children will not really remember him beyond pictures, stories and history that is shared with them by others. However, consider the legacy that he did leave his children. His children will hear how their daddy loved Jesus and desired for His name to be proclaimed to all peoples. His children are far better off than others who have their fathers for most of their life, yet also observe an apathy toward Christ during those years.
I'm saddened by the pain his loss brings to family, friends and colaborers, yet rejoice in the grace God gave him not to waste his few years. I'm jealous of the time he now gets to spend with Our Master, yet refocused on considering the work He has for me to accomplish before He takes me home.

Death is sad, but the day is coming when He will throw death into the Lake of Fire. Until then, I pray by His grace, He would keep our lives from being tragic.

4 comments:

JanAl said...

A reminder to not take for granted the time that God has given me.

Praying for his family.....

Randy said...

Hi! I wanted to take this time and tell a little something about Hugo. Hugo was a worship leader in our church for several years and also a guitar player, who had a way of pulling you into God's love and Holy spirit. This unique ability to do that was very special to me during communion times when he would play. In the past several months I was able to see a different side of Hugo...a very quiet reserved father who loved his kids with all of his heart. At the same time, him and Sarah took on the challenge of seeing water filters being brought over to the Domincan Republic through Score International. During this past Christmas advent, our pastor challenged us to be more Christlike with our time and efforts by directing us away from all the consumerism. It was by choice that the monies we gave were from the heart and not driven by consumerism. It was also this Christmas eve nite that Sarah, Hugo, and little Layla were to be a representation of the birth of Jesus in our Candlelight Service at North Oak Church in Hays. Tragically, it never happened. We all prayed the nite before for God to give us intervention as to "Why" he could possibly take Hugo away from us. Kids were heartbroken, for he had such a special bond with them and led many to the Lord. However, it was this nite...Christmas nite...that we offered Hugo to the Lord. I don't think some thought of it at this time or this way...but when every person got up and placed an offering for the water filters in the manger crib..it brought tears to your eyes. Yes, God was definately evident this nite...He will be truly missed...but as one of his friends...I don't have to question where he is at right now...When you have time...listen to his heart...listen to his music...listen to his song...and listen "24 hours a day (his song). Will miss you Hugo!!!! Randy

S Johnson said...

Sarah and family, To think we had that last special day with you and your family it is sad but we also believe there is God's blessing in it. We feel God's hand in having you with us that very day and are deeply saddened in it but also believe and know our Lord's kind and loving ways and the joy that we were able to meet and get to know you and Hugo and your children personally. You are already dear to our hearts. With love, Sally

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