A number of you have asked about the Derek Loux family. Derek and his family have been long time friends of the Baldwin family. Our daughter and Derek’s sister roomed together for a couple of years in Indianapolis. Louise & Derek’s Dad grew up together in the same church in Philadelphia. Derek was the worship leader in our church for a season in Indianapolis. Derek was killed this past week in an auto accident in Nebraska. He left behind a wife and ten children (eight of which were adopted [some with special needs]). I ran across a blog post by Randy Bohlender (http://randybohlender.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/reconciling-what-we-feel-and-what-we-know/). He is a friend of the family and wrote just an awesome post regarding making sense of Derek’s death. I asked Randy if I could repost his words on my blog and he graciously said yes.
It is well worth the read & you’ll see a picture of the family.
My Blackberry began to buzz at 5:03am. Derek Loux was in a car accident somewhere in Nebraska. Would we pray? After a number of back and forth text messages, at 7:42am I got the message that has sat in my gut like a rock for the past eight hours: “He’s gone.”
Derek leaves a beautiful wife, Renee, and ten children, two biological daughters, five girls adopted from the Marshall Islands, and three sons adopted from the Ukraine. They are quite possibly the most beautiful assembly of human beings I have ever seen.
Derek was a powerful musician, singer and songwriter…but it was his message of adoption that rocked most of us to our core – and then he had the audacity to live out his own message right on front of us, daring us to do the same.
Our community is reeling from this loss. While we yearn to be strong for Renee and the kids, inwardly we ache with the realization that Derek is no longer with us. Every human life is valuable…but who Derek was and what he was doing in the realm of rescue and adoption of the most disadvantaged made him shine like a star. He had a winsome way of making a crowd laugh one moment and cringe the next. His words might strike a chord of conviction, but his spirit always left you wanting to hear more.
Mid morning, I got another text from someone who was trying to process the whole sovereignty issue i light of losing Derek. “Randy – does Satan steal peoples’ lives or does God let them go?” they asked. This led to a few more text messages and finally a phone call, where we processed together how we felt about proclaiming God to be all knowing and all powerful in a world where such things happen.
There is a haunting verse found in Psalm 116 that always comes to mind in times like this. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints…”.How can something so terribly wrong, so terribly painful, be precious in the sight of the Lord? I think it has something to do with perspective – one that He has and yet does not expect us to easily embrace.
In the light of Derek’s true life expectancy – eternity – his time here on earth would always be negligible, whether forty years or a hundred and four. Place those time periods on the line of eternity and they’re almost impossible to find. Derek existed in God’s master plan before he walked the earth, before he played his first chord, before he preached his first sermon. Derek has passed on, but only from earth. Humans are immortal beings – only the body dies. In light of the fact that Derek will live forever, does the end point of his earthly internship, be it at forty, fifty or ninety, really make a lot of difference? In a sense no…but of course it does.
It matters to us that Derek’s wife is now facing life as a young widow. It matters to us that those children will forever divide time into the years with Daddy and without. It matters to us that Derek will not walk those beautiful girls down the aisle or toss another football to those boys. It matters to us….and it matters to God. Even though His eternal perspective allows Him to see the whole and real of Derek’s life, He feels the hurt in our hearts and the hearts of the family.
Some have said “This is an injustice….”. Others have tried hard to stick to the company line, saying “God is sovereign. His leadership is perfect.” This is one of those times when I think the most theologically correct thing to say would be “This really stinks.”
It does stink…but it does not define us.
We all yearn to say “Jesus, your leadership is perfect.” When things stink as badly as this does, we hope to be able to say the right things that give Him glory, even in our pain…but if you’re not there yet, I think God fully understands.
The words I long to hear from my children are often the simplest. “Yes, Dad.“ In those words, I hear “We trust you.“ I don’t necessarily hear “We like it, Dad!” or“Great call, Pop!”. When I ask if they want ice cream and they say “Yes, Dad!” it’s a far different thing than when I call them in from playing football to clean their rooms. In those moments, when they don’t want to submit yet find a “Yes, Dad”in their hearts, I know that they are living in right relationship with me.
The ultimate test of our acknowledgement of Jesus’ perfect leadership is not when things go well. It is when things go wrong….and yet God loves us so much that our test will not take place today. He’s giving us a moment. A moment to grieve, to wonder, and to vent if we have to.
He knows that only through the pain and wondering can we come to a place to truly call His leadership perfect.
For more information on the project so dear to Derek’s heart, go to The Josiah Fund.