A life well lived is a life lived by principle. It was July 17, 2004 south of Hansen, ID where I participated in a blessed day of the marriage of Ryan and Amie Franklin. It was the public declaration of two young adults bravely declaring they would devote themselves to each other “until death.” None of us expected it this soon.
To follow through on marriage vows cannot be accomplished without intentional principles. One cannot be known as a principled person just by saying they have principles. One has to actually live out, actually do, these principles. Principles are what causes spouses to love each other; where romance would otherwise give up and say, “I didn’t sign up for that!” Principles say, “I will do what I promised I would do, love you through everything!”
We are at our greatest risk when something happens that we didn’t plan on.
Sudden death of a young person is never expected. Ever!
When tragedy strikes, all things are at risk. It’s hard not to blame, it’s hard to remember correctly, It’s hard to be honorable, it’s hard to speak, it’s hard to think, it’s hard to feel, It’s hard to express sorrow, it’s hard to sleep, it’s hard to eat properly, it’s hard to trust, it’s hard to believe.
There is no emotion in this human experience worth trusting that hasn’t first submitted to being transformed and directed by a governing principle.
Death – Where is your victory? O Death – Where is your sting?
I’m not a news breaker. It is hard to believe that anyone living in the Magic Valley (South/Central Idaho) has not heard of the tragic death of Ryan Franklin when he was struck by a car and likely killed instantly, leaving a widow and four fatherless children.
What happens next shows the principles of the Franklin house.
Ryan’s obituary tells the story and the story makes fast way to the gospel. you don’t get there without the gospel being the principle that governed your actions. There is no “however” statement in this obituary.
The reason his obituary makes fast way to the gospel is because Ryan was governed by the gospel and his wife, Amie Franklin, is a principled woman and the gospel governs her life.
A life governed by the gospel is no guarantee of ease of life, doesn’t mean we aren’t messy at times, it means we now have a lighted path to journey on.
Now, go forth in the joy of the LORD and govern your heart and all of its deep felt emotions as a principled person. Your help is not in your romantic dreams of how you see your life ending up, your help is in the maker of heaven and earth. Turn to Christ while it is still called today, repent and be saved.
A personal note:
The past week and a half has been a life filled to the brim.
Pastoring in the same city and same church for 15 years positioned this pastor to taste the goodness of God, even in the wake from the news of tragedy. I share this as an attempt to bless the LORD while reflecting on friends I would define as (biblically) principled.
It was September 2009, Pocatello, Idaho.
I decided to do something I always wanted to do, complete a marathon.
Unexpectedly at about mile marker 17, I noticed two people standing with Renee. At a distance one was noticeably pregnant (very pregnant). I couldn’t imagine who it might be. As I got closer, I could see, it was Ryan and Amie Franklin.
To my joy, Ryan decided to run a few miles with me. Renee got this picture for me. It is now a favorite. There is nothing flattering of one on the right, but it will forever remind me of a conversation I had with a young man striving to live out his faith. We talked of their growing family, thoughts of the future, his love for Amie and most tenderly of his gratitude for God’s unmerited grace upon his life. It was one of the most unexpected visits this pastor has ever encountered. Oh how sweet it is to have encounters with principled followers of Christ.