Tragedy in Fort Lauderdale

Last weekend, I had the great honor of teaching at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale in Florida as part of the Real Marriage tour. Over 3,000 people joined us, and in the most emotional moment of our time together was when the men stood to take a poignant vow to love and lead their wives and children.

The husbands present then spent time praying over their wives in love as the sound of weeping women could be heard. It was powerful as many women saw their husbands become Christians and pray over them for the first time. 

One of those men who stood to vow and pray was a man named Mike. He and his wife, Alanna, had come down from Boston. They were sent by Genesis Church, led by Pastor Michael Davis and part of our Acts 29 church-planting network. Pastor Michael had been preaching a sermon series called "I Do" in conjunction with the Real Marriage book. As part of the series, the church generously had given away two fully paid trips for couples from the church to attend the Real Marriage tour event in Fort Lauderdale. 

The couple didn’t win, but Alanna really wanted to attend, and out of love for his wife, Mike agreed. Alanna was a maturing Christian, active in her church, leading a small group, and by all accounts a loving, gracious, and wonderful woman. Mike was on his journey of faith, but when he stood to vow and pray, his lovely wife told him it was the happiest day of her life. 

They left the conference and returned back to their hotel very much in love and excited about their future together as she was also seven months pregnant with their first child, a boy. Mike and Alanna went into the restroom, and that’s when tragedy struck. A car smashed into the restroom Alanna was in. She and her baby were killed. 

I was first made aware of this tragedy watching the news last night. To be honest, I was devastated and prayed for the couple before I went to sleep. But, it was not until this morning that I heard the rest of the story. I had an opportunity to speak with Pastor Michael, and the grieving widower Mike today on the phone. 

The news of this tragic event has gone global. And, many have clicked to see their wedding photo from some years prior, now posted on Britain’s Daily Mail.

It's a good time for us all to pray for Mike. His entire life has just gone upside down in an instant as he went from the best day of his bride’s life to the worst day of his life. I called Mike this morning, and it was an honor to speak with him and hear how his family and friends have supported him.

Lastly, this is a good reminder for us all: none of us knows when the last day of our life or the life of someone we love will be. In God's providence, this is my sermon topic on Sunday as we finish the Real Marriage series, the last day. There should be a sense of urgency for us to grow in friendship with Jesus and our spouse if we are married.

Today is the day to give your life to Jesus if you are not yet a Christian. And, today is the day to work things out with your spouse by God's grace. 

While I deeply grieve with and for Mike, I am so glad that the last day for his wife was the best day of her life. She was loved well by her husband and welcomed home by her Jesus.