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By the time we graduated from High School, most of my close friends had an idea what we wanted to do with our lives. Some wanted to get jobs and go to work, others shipped off to college with a specific occupation in mind, but there were a few that didn't have a clue. It was fun to go to our 20th High School reunion a few years ago to see how people's lives were turning out.

It was nice to see how they had matured. Personally, I think it was because their wives had whipped them into shape (I know mine has).

On the whole, I'm proud of my graduating class. Most of my friends have good families, good jobs and are doing quite well for themselves. Those from my youth group are all serving the Lord in the local church. Some of them are even deacons and teachers.

The room wasn't completely full. There was an empty chair that one of my friends should have occupied. He'd swallowed the barrel of a gun before our 20th. Life didn't turn out like he wanted, so he ended it all. I'm not sure why. I heard that his business wasn't doing so well and neither was his marriage. I was angry at him. Why didn't he call? Why didn't he reach out to someone, anyone, me? 

Everyone suffers disappointments and set backs. At my friend's funeral, the pastor did a wonderful job. He didn't skirt the issue of suicide. He made it clear that it was wrong and wasn't God's plan for handling life's problems. But He also brought us comfort that it was not an unpardonable sin. 

My friend knew the Lord. And even if that relationship wasn't strong enough to keep him from taking his own life, it is comforting to know where he is spending his eternity.

I can't think about my reunion without remembering the empty chair that was in the room, and when I do, I pray for the children of my friend that should have been sitting there.

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365 Days includes Volumes 1-4
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Impact Preaching: A Case for the
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