Not too long ago, on a windy and blistery frigid Saturday morning, I had the honor and challenging task of delivering a graveside service for a  young man I didn’t know—yet through his mother and my book, I will forever be connected to him.

Charlie Smith passed away unexpectedly at 11:15 AM on Thursday, March 21st. His mom, Charlotte, and step-father, Terry, asked me to officiate the private service and while meeting with them and Charlie’s brother, Caleb, I learned of his “41” tattoo. 

Several months ago Charlotte explained the concept of my book, 41 Will Come, to Charlie and encouraged him to read it, especially considering the challenging season he was in. While he never picked it up and actually read the book, he was impacted enough by its message that he surprised his mom with this tattoo. As you can see above, it’s a drawing of a pocket watch and the time displayed is 12:41

Not too long before his death, Charlie was asked by a co-worker to explain the significance of the timestamp. His response was, “It’s personal…between me and my mom.” Charlie may not have read the book, but the message of the book was still a beacon of hope for a young man struggling through life.

In the Bible, the number 40 (days or years) often represents a season of waiting and hardship. Day/year 41 often delivers the breakthrough, second chance, or new beginning.

For Charlie, 41 has come—perhaps not in the way he envisioned, but it has come nonetheless. He is with the very One who is timeless…and he’s in a place where the frustrations and disappointments of this world no longer sting; where unexpected circumstances and setbacks are replaced with unspeakable joys; where the pain of life is no longer permitted; and where every tear has been wiped away.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. —Revelation 12:4 (NLT)

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