To Live Is Christ, to Die Is Gain

On Saturday, Josh Eddy, age 19, stood on the banks of the Rogue River in southern Oregon. The river, one of the original eight rivers designated as “Wild and Scenic” by Congress in 1968 for its amazing beauty and wilderness, was in spate with snow melt and raging with power. Josh, an artist with the camera, adjusted his camera settings, turned to the river to take a picture, and… fell in.

Josh was one of nine children in a homeschooling family that moved from Portland to Grant’s Pass a few years ago. He was very much a part of the huge homeschooling community in Oregon and Washington. I never spoke to him myself, but he was a dear friend to young people I know and love. Their world has been rocked. There is a sense of invulnerability when all life is in front of you, your body works well and you move with confidence, and your mind is sharp and facile. Then to have one of your own snatched away in a moment… Life suddenly becomes, oh, so precious, and oh—so fragile.

I prayed with some of Josh’s friends on Sunday at church. I wanted to just make it okay so badly, but I couldn’t. God is sovereign, and He is always wise and good, and always does what is best for His children out of His infinite love. That is our comfort, our peace, and our joy even when it hurts so much we hardly want to draw the next breath. These children are learning that lesson so early in life. I would have spared them, but I am not God and I don’t love them like He does.

I am thankful that these young people have a staunch faith in God. They hurt, but they know that Josh is rejoicing with Jesus, and they would not wish him back. They know that “precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints,” and “a good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” They know that for a Christian, “it is not death to die.”

Josh was in love with God and focused on His glory. You can learn about the heart of this young man here: The Bright and Hopeful Unknown.  A post dated April 6th is entitled, “To Die Well…” He thought about death a lot, and deeply desired to sacrifice himself for something worthwhile…to die that someone else might live. I have no doubt that God is answering that prayer.

It is easy to speculate about the ministry this extraordinary young man may have had in life, but already people near and far are being impacted by Josh’s writings and by testimonies shared about him. His blog has had more than 10,000 views, almost all of them in the past few days. Visit the Facebook page created on Sunday as a memorial, Joshua Steven Eddy, and read what friends and family have posted about his life and how he encouraged them to fight the good fight of faith.

What the world sees as a senseless, wasted death, God is using to bring Himself great glory.  “God works all things together for the good of those who love God and are the called according to His purpose.” Josh will have a wider and deeper ministry in his death than he would have if he had lived. In God’s economy, nothing is ever senseless or wasted.

Scripture: Psa. 116:15; Eccl. 7.1; Rom. 8:28. Song title from Henri Malan (1787-1864) translated into English by George Bethune (1847).

Another place to learn more about Josh is here: First Impressions: The Movie. Josh was Director of Photography for this movie written, produced, directed, acted in, and filmed by homeschoolers. “First Impressions is an original full-length film based on the book by Jane Austen, ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ set in modern times, but with ‘flashbacks’ into Jane Austen’s story weaved in as the protagonist reads the book.” It is in the editing process, and is projected to be released in the fall. The picture is of Josh poised on the roof, filming.