I once asked seventeen-year-old Andrew what he wanted to do after school. What career did he plan to pursue? He was trying to decide which college to attend and what to major in.
He ended up at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, where he majored in dance and accounting. He loved that school. He was on track to finish both programs in four and half years. A BBA in Accounting and a BA in dance. Two degrees. With a very high GPA in both.
Andrew did not see Accounting as a "fallback" job option. He really enjoyed it! He liked studying business and even spoke of possibly going to law school one day. And he knew every theater and dance company needs a business manager. He knew he could earn a good living while pursuing his passion for dance.
In answer to my question, Andrew replied, "I want to be famous and make people happy."
No too long after The Accident I remembered the conversation and thought, "Lord, I guess that's not going happen. Right now everyone who knew him is grieving. He got hit by a truck and is dead. End of that dream."
Yet as we approach the fourth anniversary of The Accident, I realize God had a much bigger plan for my son all along. In both his life and his death, God was and is working to reach people and draw them to Himself.
Philippians 1:6 reminds us that God began a good work in us. He is the One working in us. This work will continue until the day Christ Jesus returns!
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 | ESV
The story of Andrew's life and The Accident have gone around the world.
In this blog alone, people from more than 135 countries have read stories about Andrew and the wonderful things that came from his death.
Here are the countries from which readers came in just the past three days:
I don't believe God caused my son's death, but I know God does use ugly things in our lives for our good and ultimately for His glory.
In our own family we have seen beautiful things happen since that morning: Healing, forgiveness, recovery. Ron and I have walked through fire and have come out closer and more in love than ever. My walk with God is stronger than before. My other adult offspring are healthy than before, in many ways.
I've received messages from some of my son's friends who tell me they began making better choices, stopped binge drinking, went back to seeking God, and learned to forgive after The Accident.
Andrew did not become famous in the way he wanted. But his name and his story are going around the world. His story is not only making people happy, his story – our story – has helped others find healing, hope, peace, and joy in Christ.
And for that, I am humbled and grateful.
This picture is of Andrew a few weeks before his death. He is in costume on the set of the show he was in that summer.