If you’ve spent any amount of time at all in the evangelical Christian blogosphere, you’ve undoubtedly heard the name Tim Challies before. His blog is arguable the most read Christian blog on the internet and he has not skipped a single day of posting since he began it well over 12 years ago. His reach has garnered him an influence that has inspired untold numbers of us to pick up the craft of writing, and he’s been an unashamed advocate of the power, usefulness, and relevance of Christian blogging for a very long time. He’s the reason many of us have tried our hand at this, and he’s one of the major reasons I started this blog almost 6 years ago. All that to say, Tim’s announcement yesterday of the sudden death of his son, Nick, startled and saddened many.
I didn’t have a personal relationship with Tim. I was in a small writers group with him for a short time last year but our interaction was very minimal and I’m not even sure he’d remember me if my name was mentioned to him. Nevertheless, Tim’s impact on the community of bloggers that I’ve found myself in has made this news feel extra personal to me. I’m not sure why, but I imagine it’s due to the way that Tim has poured himself into this community in such a strong way over the years. Tim’s championing of bloggers and writers, the way he’s coached us and taught us, the transparency he’s shown in his writing, the humility with which he’s allied himself with us “little guys”, it feels like I know him way more than I do. There’s a reason he’s called the “blogfather.” To many of us who have sought to wring out words and sentences and paragraphs that point to the glory of Christ through this medium, Tim has served as somewhat of a patriarch–an unwavering, fatherly example for many of us to aspire to.
Which makes the news of the passing of his son that much more saddening. Tim isn’t just the “blogfather”, he is an actual father. He’s an actual father who lost his only son. Hear the tender affection in Tim’s words describing his son:
“Yesterday the Lord called my son to himself—my dear son, my sweet son, my kind son, my godly son, my only son.“
His only son. I don’t know why, but of all the words that Tim has ever penned, I feel like those will ring in my mind for far longer than any others. There’s a tension to them that is both sweet and bitter. In three words, Tim captures his immense grief but also displays his greatest hope. There is Another who knows the pain of losing His only Son to death, but that Other also knows the joy of being reunited with that Son, a joy that Tim will one day share in himself. That truth–that Life has overcome death–is a truth that Tim has unflinchingly declared for as long as I’ve ever known of him, and my prayer and hope is that as much as he has inspired me with that truth over the years, his heart would find rest and peace in what he has so faithfully led many others into.
I pray that you would take the time to pray for Tim, his wife Aileen, and their family during this time. Tim, thank you for chatting with me that one time a while back, and thank you for everything you’ve given to this community over the years.
“Father, you know what it’s like to lose a son. You know the pain and the sorrow that accompanies death. Would you be so kind as to extend your compassion and mercy to the Challies family? For Your Name’s sake, draw near to them during this time of loss and remind them of the immeasurable gain their son has experienced, and that they too will one day share in. Would you receive much honor, glory, and praise through this tragic event, and so show Yourself to be the Sovereign and Wise Lord who works all things, even death, for the good of those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. In the name of Your Only Son, Amen.”