His nickname was “G.” G’Metrik Caldwell and I played football together in high school. He used to come over to my house and hang out. We were extremely good friends. He was one of the most amazing athletes I had ever seen.

Yesterday, G was shot and killed. This makes the second close friend in the past two months who have died. Nathan Horn died last month. Both are too young to die. Living in North Carolina allows me to be away from the situation, but the grief remains.

I loved both of these guys like brothers. I grew up with them. I lived life with them. I played sports with them. Here is the deal, God has a plan. These two men made bad choices. But don’t we make bad choices?

Everyday we are faced with choices. We never know when it is our time to go. Before I go, I want to know for sure that my sins, my bad choices, my failures, and my flaws are atoned for.

And it shall be a statute to you forever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall fast and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you. For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse before the Lord from all your sins. (Leviticus 16:29-30 ESV)

This is known as the Day of Atonement. It is also known as Yom Kippur. God gave Aaron a long list of duties to perform in order atone for their sins. One of which is sacrificing a bull. When I say a long list, I mean a LONG list. There is so much for Aaron to do.

Why do I bring that up? I bring that up because these sacrifices point to the ultimate sacrifice. They point to the ultimate atonement that took place on Calvary.

As Aaron had a long check off list to perform, Jesus checked off the list for us. In one moment, he took all of your sins (past, present, and future) and wore them through pain and suffering. Nathan and G both knew Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. For that I am thankful.

Now, this I want to extend to you. Do you know Jesus? This is not a scare tactic to get you to believe in Jesus. The facts remain: death is inevitable and unexpected. Jesus offered his life to atone for your sins so that you might live with him for eternity.

Next Step: Prayer. If your children do not know Jesus, pray for them. If your parents do not know Jesus, pray for them. If your best friend does not know Jesus, pray for them.

I’m so thankful that Jesus is my Savior. He gives me hope beyond measure.