Hunter Payne Dies Tragically

15 May

Our seemingly small choices have a much greater ripple effect that we can ever imagine!

LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him? (Psalm 144:3)

Death can strike at any time! Are you prepared to die?
What will be your legacy?

The “Butterfly Effect” states that small variations of the initial condition of a nonlinear dynamic system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system. This principle can be exhibited by very simple systems: for example, a ball placed at the crest of a hill might roll into any of several valleys depending on slight differences in initial position. A butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear (or prevent a tornado from appearing). The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different.

My son Robbie turned 20 on May 11. He recently completed his second year of college at the University of Virginia and was planning to leave for Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) with a few friends early on May 12. On the morning of his birthday, I suggested to Robbie that he celebrate his birthday in a very special way by taking some of his friends to Battle Cry 2007. Robbie declined and instead chose to spend his afternoon and evening with friends in Culpeper. One of those friends was Kendall Payne, a girl who graduated from Culpeper High School with Robbie.

It turned out that Robbie’s departure date to Myrtle Beach was bumped back more than a day because some friends backed out of their verbal commitments. So on Saturday morning May 12, I once again invited Robbie to come to Battle Cry 2007. I wanted Robbie to see Dewey McDonnell get on stage in front of 20,000 teenagers to share how God miraculously answered the unified prayers of our Pray Culpeper team. Once again Robbie declined.

What followed? While Robbie was driving to Charlottesville on May 12 to pick up his last load of stuff from his dorm at the University of Virginia, the engine of his truck blew something critical. He ended up having to make arrangements to have his truck, previously valued at $1,500+, towed to the junk yard.

At 9:20 a.m. the next morning (Sunday, May 13), just as I was posting my devotional titled “Reflection About Battle Cry,” Robbie told me he had just learned that Hunter Payne died earlier that morning (Mother’s Day) after being struck by a tree in the head the day before sending him into a coma. So while I was at Battle Cry 2007, Hunter had his fatal accident. He was just 15 years old, the youngest of three siblings. Kendall was the oldest. Hunter’s older brother graduates from Culpeper High School in June. Robbie told me Hunter was very outgoing and a good drummer and excellent skate boarder.

Asking “What if?” doesn’t help because we can’t change our yesterdays. But we can learn from our past. God is sovereign! Only He sees the big picture. Because God is the Alpha and the Omega, He simultaneously sees the beginning and the end. At best, we see little glimpses of what’s going on. We’ll never understand why most things happen the way they do. But it is our duty as God’s children to seek and obey Him.

Prayer Power
Abba, Father, thank You for the precious gift of another day of life on this earth. Life is short, whether we live until we’re 80 years old or 20. Help us to live each day as if it is our last. May we live purposeful lives full of loving kindness to point people toward Jesus. Comfort Hunter Payne’s mother and two siblings during this time of grief and loss. We thank You that somehow, some way You will be bring something good out of what seems so tragic. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Link of the Day
GriefShare [] is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.
Blessings to live with the power of Christ in your life!

Joseph PeckJoseph

Joseph Peck, M.D.
The Time Doctor
Empowering Dreams
Author, I Was Busy, Now I’m Not

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