When All Seems To Be Gain, Plan For Loss

A friend of mine was part of a rapid deployment unit in the military. The task of his division was to be in a perpetual state of readiness, able to be deployed at a moment’s notice. When a need for their services arose, those soldiers were to be geared up, loaded up, and wheels up within hours. Because they could not know when a conflict would arise or what manner of conflict it might be, they had to be prepared …

Goodnight Till Then

“Mr. Challies, we want you to know that we have received Nick into our care. Rest assured that he is in the very best of hands.” The message comes as a relief, for it means that Nick’s long, last, lonely journey is complete. Even if he can’t come home, he has at least arrived back in his own country, back in his own town. It is not as we hoped. It is not as we imagined. But it is as …

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I Fear God, and I’m Afraid of God

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Not only that, but the fear of the Lord is the beginning of the Christian life. The Bible makes it clear that to love God, to honor God, to obey God, we must fear God. But “fear” is a word with many dimensions, many definitions. In what ways are we to fear God? Much of what I know about fearing God I learned from R.C. Sproul. Looking back to Luther, …

A Family Update Four Weeks After Our Worst Day

We are okay. At least, I think we are. To be honest, I don’t really know how to judge that, or even what it really means. But I think it’s true. We’re badly broken, but somehow okay. It was four weeks ago, on a Tuesday evening, that we received a flurry of terrifying text messages, then waited through a brutal silence, then got the dreaded phone call—our Nick had collapsed, had been rushed to hospital, but had been beyond the …

Nick Challies (March 5, 2000 – November 3, 2020)

Nicholas Paul Challies was born at Hamilton’s McMaster Hospital on March 5, 2000. He was a trailblazer of sorts: The first child to Tim and Aileen; the first grandchild to Mike, Marg, John, and Barbara; the first nephew to Andrew, Maryanne, Emily, Susanna, and Grace. When Nick was just a few months old his family settled in Oakville where they were joined by Abby in 2002 and Michaela in 2006. Nick attended Falgarwood Public School, then Munn’s Public School, and …

The Funeral for My Son, Nick Challies

On Saturday, November 21, 2020, we will be holding the funeral service for my dear son, Nick. Because the entirety of my family and the majority of Nick’s friends are in America, and because the borders between our two countries are functionally closed, we will be live-streaming the service. Those who did not know him are welcome to watch as well. I have created a page you can bookmark and visit at the time of the funeral to find the …

If God Did It, It Must Be Good. Right?

“The sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which the child of God rests his head at night, giving perfect peace.” So said the inimitable Charles Spurgeon. Or did he? He might have said, “When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.” Or maybe he said both, or maybe he said something halfway between. Either way, it’s clear that in Spurgeon’s dark hours he found comfort in a particular …

On Running a Short Race Well

Each of us is given a race to run. Some are called to run a long race. Some are called to run a short race. What matters is not how long our race is, but how well we run it. It’s God’s business to determine how long we run; it’s our business to determine how well we run. It is so much better to run a short race well than a long race poorly. God called my son Nick to …

Memorial & Funeral Arrangements for My Son

Though these have been the two most difficult days of our lives, my family has been immeasurably blessed. We have received encouragement from close friends and distant strangers alike, each telling us of their love and their prayers. (I have gotten more emails and messages than I could ever respond to, but please know I have read each and every one.) We have been the beneficiaries of generous hospitality here on the campus of Boyce College and the Southern Baptist …

My Son, My Dear Son, Has Gone To Be With the Lord

In all the years I’ve been writing I have never had to type words more difficult, more devastating than these: Yesterday the Lord called my son to himself—my dear son, my sweet son, my kind son, my godly son, my only son. Nick was playing a game with his sister and fiancée and many other students when he suddenly collapsed, never regaining consciousness. Students, paramedics, and doctors battled valiantly, but could not save him. He’s with the Lord he loved, …