On April 6, 2018, the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League boarded a bus for the two-hour drive to their playoff game in Nipawin. They had no idea that their obscure little hockey team from small-town Saskatchewan would soon be known around the world. At about 5 o’clock that evening their bus collided with a semi truck, causing utter devastation to the vehicle and the 29 passengers within it. Fourteen died immediately and two more in the days that followed. Most of those killed were in their teens or early twenties.
This tragedy has gripped the nation of Canada and made headlines far beyond. Crowdsourcing campaigns have raised millions. Unofficial tributes, like leaving hockey sticks outside the front door of homes or wearing hockey jerseys to work and school, have swept the country. There is something so essentially Canadian about this tragedy, something so very painful, that all of Canada is feeling it very deeply. We all grieve for the families who have so unexpectedly lost someone they loved. We all grieve for that small town that has been crushed by such a heavy blow.
As I have reflected on the disaster, there is a thought that continues to haunt me. It’s the thought of young people who have heard the gospel, but haven’t yet decided what to do about it. I know many people who are in the age-range of those players, people who are in their teens or twenties. Many of them have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, but have not yet responded in repentance and faith. They haven’t outright rejected the gospel—they just haven’t decided yet whether or not they believe it.
This is not unusual for young people. It is not uncommon for them to hear the good news but to hold off, to delay, to wait for what seems like a more opportune time. They are young, after all. They’ve got years still, don’t they? Perhaps not. I’m sure every young man on that bus had dreams for the future. I’m sure every one was convinced he had time left to live. But he didn’t.
What haunts me is young people—perhaps young people like you—who haven’t yet made up their minds. They have heard about Jesus and are perhaps convicted that he really is the Savior, but they haven’t yet put their faith in him. They are waiting for another day, waiting for a better time. Here’s how I want to challenge them, to challenge you: God does not promise you another day. He doesn’t promise you another moment. He doesn’t call you to turn to him tomorrow or next week or at some unspecified point in the future. He calls on you to turn to him now, in this very moment.
It is my prayer that this tragedy serves as a sobering wake-up call to young people across the nation and across the world. It is my prayer that it will stir many to consider that the call to the gospel is urgent, that it must be heeded today. God promises you salvation now and heaven forever if you’ll turn to him. But he does not promise you tomorrow==
Tim Challies blogs at INFORMING THE REFORMING.