Fan Dies at Atlanta Braves Game: Gospel Hope Amid Tragedy


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The Atlanta Braves have had tremendous success this season. This comes as good news to me, an Atlanta Braves fan since age two, as the Braves boast the best record in Major League Baseball. There are many happy faces in Atlanta. However, these happy faces are temporarily gone as a tragedy has struck the Atlanta Braves. I am spending part of my morning praying for the family of a man who died in Atlanta last night. CNNThe Washington Post, and other major news outlets reports that a 29 year-old man named Ronald Homer fell 65 feet from an upper-level platform onto a parking lot. Police say they do not suspect foul play and that the fall seems to be a complete accident. It is also unclear whether alcohol or other substances were involved or not. Police are still investigating. Homer fell around 9:00 P.M. (EDT) as the game between the Braves and Phillies was about to get back underway after a two-hour rain delay.

Though there are some mysteries surrounding this accident, some things are certain and very clear.

(1) This accident is a tragedy and a family is grieving and suffering.

(2) This accident is yet another reminder of the shortness and brevity of life. It calls to the forefront of our minds what James wrote many years ago, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’–yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:13-14).

(3) This accident reminds us that because of sin, Adam died just as God had promised (Gen. 5:5; 2:17). And as a result of Adam’s sin, we all die; for when Adam sinned, in some mysterious way, we all sinned (Rom. 5:12, 15). And this position of guilt we find ourselves in is more serious than physical death. We are guilty before God and the death we receive as a result of our union to the first Adam is eternal (Rom. 6:23). God’s wrath will be exhausted on the hard and unrepentant sinner who follows in the footsteps of his first father Adam. We are reminded from this accident that one day we will die and one day we will face the judgment of God for every one of our deeds, even the most careless word we speak (Matt. 12:36).

(4) This accident reminds us that on the day of death, all that will matter is if you know Christ (Matt. 7:21-23). Eternal life with an eternally joyful God is only found in knowing Jesus (John 17:3; 14:6). The gospel of Jesus is the only hope any of us have in life and especially in death. I am reminded of the power of the gospel through this tragic accident. Though we stand guilty before God, there is good news. There is good news for Ronald Homer if he knew Christ. There is good news for the Homer family. There is good news for you. God, in his great love, sent his Son Jesus who was fully God and fully man to live the perfect and sinless life that is required. Jesus then took the death that sinners deserve. He died in our place to take the wrath of God upon himself. In the death of Jesus the wrath of God was satisfied. Then Jesus rose from the dead three days later in defeat over sin and death. He now reigns forever at the right hand of God the Father. By God’s grace, he has made a way for us to be justified before him and by his grace he calls us to himself. Through faith in Christ, you stand immediately justified before God as your sin has been punished in Christ and his righteousness has been imputed to you. Jesus did what Adam and you failed to do and became your propitiation so that through your union with the second Adam, you can freely be declared innocent and experienced undeserved and unparalleled joy from the God whose essence is joy and love. May this tragedy lead you to the gospel.

So what conclusions should we draw from a tragedy that may be minuscule on the world-wide scale? Firstly, by realizing that it is not minuscule. If you have lost someone close to you, realize that the world of this man’s family has just been shaken with the force of a violent earthquake and they may be hoping that they fall between the cracks. Pray for the God of all comfort to bring peace to their souls and for them to find peace with God through faith in Christ. Secondly, take a step back and look at your own life and see where you may be wasting your time realizing that you do not have much of it. Are you giving of yourself to a worthy cause that will last beyond your life that is like a mist? Are you maximizing your life to magnify the glory of God in all things? Is Christ seen as supreme and is his gospel evident in your life? Tragedies like this have a tendency to wake up those to whom they happen to. I pray that this tragedy would have this effect on all sports fans and that Christians would pray for a renewed devotion to promote and live for the kingdom of God, proclaiming his gospel to all who are still under the wrath of God (John 3:36).

Pray for the Homer family today. Blessings.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

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