Monday, October 3, 2011

A Tribute to Someone I Never Met

I'm pretty sure I never actually met Sunday. It's possible that I did, though from what I can tell, I would definitely remember such an encounter. It might not matter. He was the kind of person whom everyone on the ACU campus knew, even if we didn't have the privilege to actually know him. Is it strange to write a tribute to someone whom I actually never met?

A week ago Facebook was blowing up with urgent pleas for prayer for Sunday Ibok. At the age of 31 he had suffered a brain aneurysm and was laying in a hospital room, surrounded by family and a multitude of family-like friends, all begging God for mercy and a miracle. People like me, who weren't even Facebook-friends with Sunday, were frequently checking for updates, drawn in to what seemed like, and surely was, a worldwide prayer campaign for his life. I already knew Sunday was a special person, but it was in reading all of the memories and assurances that made me realize that Sunday was one of a kind. It made me wonder what God's purpose could be in taking such a person from this Earth at such a young age, someone who influenced so many with his kindness, genuineness, love, gift of encouragement, and Christ-likeness. If someone who influenced so many for so much good and in so doing pointed them to the joy of life in Christ, why would he be taken?

No one will ever know the answer, and I'm sure the pain of that question will remain with his family for a long time. But I know that many are already seeing a glimpse of the good that came from this tragedy less than a week after his family removed Sunday from life support. So many described him as a light in this dark world, and that his passing from this life makes them want to shine their light brighter. A friend of mine wrote, "thank you for making me feel like I was the most interesting person in the room every time we were together." I wonder if she's now doing just the same.

Tomorrow hundreds (thousands?) will gather to celebrate Sunday's life. Another friend of mine wrote today that he is actually excited about it! Someone who brought so much joy to others in this life has managed to bring a small glimmer of joy in his death! Maybe that's why I felt the need to write something. Because, although I didn't know Sunday, I'm one of the hundreds (thousands?) who has been changed.

My prayer is that God will comfort Sunday's family, friends, and acquaintances. I also pray that He will teach all of us to learn from Sunday's example, to be so in love with Jesus that we can't help but to love others the way He would.

Go here to see a beautiful art print that was made in Sunday's memory. All profit goes to help his family with medical costs. It is a beautiful reminder of God's faithfulness in times of darkness and joy.