I want to warn you up front that tonight’s post is a tough one. That’s because a very brave 21 year old boy lost his battle with bone cancer early this morning – 6:15 am to be exact. One one hand, it is the tragic story of a young man, Jared Boyd, who fought this invasive form of cancer for more than 2 years. Yet, in the end, it is also the story of a family with incredible faith in God and full surrender to God. So you already know what’s coming – but here’s the back story.
Jared was 18 when he started experiencing extreme pain in his leg and lower back in september, 2010. After tests and body scans it was determined that he had bone cancer – a rare form that was initially treated with extensive surgery to remove part of his pelvis and surrounding muscle. Jared recovered nicely, learning to walk again with what was left of the surrounding bone and tissue. The doctors treated the situation aggressively and since I know Jared’s dad, a pastor friend of mine, I stayed in the loop on how Jared was doing.
Throughout the past several years, the cancer, while gone for a while, returned in multiple places throughout Jared’s body – a recurrence in his leg, then masses in other areas, including his lungs. Treatments, both traditional and holistic, staved off the cancer for a period of time, but it has become increasingly evident that the doctors couldn’t treat all the affected areas.
The real story tonight is about Jared’s attitude. I only met him several times – but each time we were together, he was a model of Christian behavior. He was on fire for the Lord and was a blessing to those people around him who were suffering as a result of his illness. Jared was usually upbeat and an encouragement. Repeatedly, he voiced his position that he was ready if and when the Lord took him home to heaven. Quite remarkable for a teenager…
Anyway, the last several weeks have been pretty difficult. Yesterday, my friend Paul and his family visited Jared and spent the day taking pictures and talking. Jared’s spirits were good, although he knew the end was coming. He let his family and friends know that he was ready for heaven – I still think that is remarkable. He helped his mother, father, brothers and sisters all make the mental and emotional transition to life without Jared physically among them.
The end came quietly this morning. About an hour ago, I received a note from his sister, Katie. Rather than trying to paraphrase what she said, I thought I would include her note in tonight’s post. So here it is…
Just a short one tonight to let everyone know that Jared was promoted to his new home in heaven this morning. He passed away around 6:15 this morning.
Thank you, on behalf of our whole family, for your continued love, prayers,and support throughout this entire sickness. Your prayers were answered.. Jared is healed; wholly and completely. For the first time in so many years and months, he is cancer-free.
With love from our home,
Now I don’t know what you think about her note, but what an attitude – Jared was “promoted” to heaven – and tonight, indeed, he is cancer free. He was a remarkable, courageous young man who was an inspiration to those around him. And believe me, I don’t say that lightly.
There are a multitude of verses I thought of tonight, but perhaps none as appropriate as one from John 6:47, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” So while Jared is no longer here, he lives eternally in heaven. My encouragement this evening is to make sure that you realize that God is in control and that all things work together according to His perfect will – as difficult as that may be to understand. My prayer is that you’ll hug your kids extra tight, say a prayer for Jared’s family and rejoice in the fact that Jared was “promoted” today. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…