Christian blogger and pastor Tim Challies has announced the untimely death of his son.
Challies, well-known for his astute posts on church leadership and theology, revealed the devastating news in a blog post on 4th November.
"In all the years I’ve been writing I have never had to type words more difficult, more devastating than these: Yesterday the Lord called my son to himself—my dear son, my sweet son, my kind son, my godly son, my only son," he wrote. "Nick was playing a game with his sister and fiancée and many other students when he suddenly collapsed, never regaining consciousness. Students, paramedics, and doctors battled valiantly, but could not save him. He’s with the Lord he loved, the Lord he longed to serve. We have no answers to the what or why questions."
Tim went on to say that, upon hearing the news, he and his wife Aileen "cried and cried until we could cry no more, until there were no tears left to cry".
Challies continued: "Then, later in the evening, we looked each other in the eye and said, “We can do this.” We don’t want to do this, but we can do this—this sorrow, this grief, this devastation—because we know we don’t have to do it in our own strength. We can do it like Christians, like a son and daughter of the Father who knows what it is to lose a Son."
The Canadian pastor requested prayer as the family grieve such an excruating loss. "We know there will be gruelling days and sleepless nights ahead," he wrote. "But for now, even though our minds are bewildered and our hearts are broken, our hope is fixed and our faith is holding. Our son is home."
Many fellow Christian leaders have responded to the news by offering words of condolences and prayer to the Challies family.
"Tim, I'm really sorry to hear this. Our prayers are with your family," said popular author and former pastor, Tim Keller.
"I'm sorry and praying for you all now," added author Trillia Newbell.
Pastor Costi Hinn replied: "Tim, my heart breaks over this news. Our family is mourning with you. May the peace of God still fill your hearts in the midst of pain."
"Lord have mercy," added author Jared C. Wildon. "This is awful. Pray for the @Challies family."