Recently, a young man passed away. On Monday, family, friends, and others gathered to celebrate the life of Austin Adams, who graduated from Dumas High School in 2018 and was working in Garden City, Kansas. I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about the young man and the service.
It is always difficult to come together during such moments as this, but unfortunately, it is part of life. It is even more difficult when it a such a young person. It is unfortunate when things such as this happens, a young life gone too soon. I did not have the good fortune of knowing Austin, as I came here after he graduated, but it seem he had a tremendous support system here in Dumas.
It is in the comfort of God we can find solace and peace. I would like to share a passage from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, where it says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in an affliction, with the comfort with with we ourselves are comforted by God."
Pastor Chris Fobbs, of Grace Thru Faith Church, spoke about Austin. He admitted he did not know the young man as most of the people in attendance at the funeral service on Monday, but he spoke about God and faith, especially in a time like this. His message was powerful in that it shed light on this terrible trial. He talked about life being short and we, as humans, do not know when the time will come. He informed the audience he was a former athlete as well, and he remembers his coaches telling him to "play to the whistle" and "play like it's the fourth quarter," meaning play through and play hard until the whistle blows, until the end.
That's how he sees life. Don't take things for granted. I happen to agree. We don't know when our time is done. Make every moment count.
It seems those are similar characteristics the Dumas athletic program instills in its young men and women even today. Time and time again, head football coach Aaron Dunnam has said the real task at hand is to shape the young men and women into viable, contributing members of society beyond the walls of DHS – to be good husbands, fathers, wives, mothers with life skills that reach into adulthood. As he told his football team after the final buzzer in that playoff game that ended their historic playoff run last year – "And it doesn't end here," Dunnam said. "It doesn't end with a football game, with a loss in a game. Everything we did this year, we talked about the things in life. It wasn't about a game. We lost a football game tonight to a pretty good football team. Don't forget what you've done. … Don't forget who we are. Don't forget the things we did this year. Don't forget all the things that are being talked about. Don't forget the impact that you made on your community."
Those are the words that inspire. Those are words that lift up the body, mind and soul.
There was sorrow in the room on Monday, a deep mourning for the loss of the strong, intelligent youth that was gone too soon, and understandable so. But Austin was a strong, courageous soul. Part of that showed by the display of all the family, friends, former teammates and coaches present. As I understand, he was an avid athlete in both football and wrestling. Austin was on the back-to-back state wrestling teams. Coach Clint Chamblin said he was one to always put the needs of others before his own. He put the team's needs ahead of his own to help the Demons achieve those state titles.
Psalm 23 was read at the service. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
It is difficult to truly comprehend such a loss as this, but unfortunately it does happen. At times, it is in these moments that we may ask why? Why did this happen? I suggest to turn that "why" into a "how." How do use this? How can I turn this into a productive, positive moment? Ask God for His love and mercy to shine through and be present and in our lives.
I will end with this passage from Lamentations 3:22-24, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hop in him.'"