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Thoughts on Travis Worden’s Passing

October 1, 2010 11 Comments

TRAVIS WORDEN 03/05/92 - 09/29/10

On Sunday September 26, I was in bed with a thought running through my mind.             “What would someone do who knew they had 24 hours left to live?”

The next night I got a phone call telling me that Travis Worden was in a terrible accident on his motorcycle.  He was one of the students who used to come to Teen Quest.  My friend told me that he was in a coma and was not expected to make it.  Brittany and I prayed for him Monday night moments after I got the call.  I got the word out to countless people through email to pray for him either that night or on Tuesday.  We prayed for him again Monday night from 10:17 to 10:37.  We got ready for bed, and prayed for him some more before falling asleep.

On Tuesday we went to work.  No one had any concrete updates.  We all waited.  I received some replies to the email I sent.  Our day rolled on like normal.  I’m sure we prayed for him more on Tuesday.  It may have been during the day.  It may have been at night before we fell asleep again.  I can’t remember.

On Wednesday September 29, I ended up sending out an urgent update to my original email around 12:30 PM. We were all getting ready for lunch when one of our ministry team members called Travis’ mom to see where things were.  Travis had just suffered cardiac arrest.  The doctors worked on him for a half hour before getting things under control.  They wanted to start kidney dialysis because his brain injuries were so severe that his organs were trying to shut down.  Brittany and I got together with a few other people at Teen Quest and prayed. We went home a few hours later.  As we were getting ready to head to her parents’ house for dinner I got a text message from my friend at 5:33 PM with the news.

Travis Worden died this Wednesday, September 29.  He was 18.  It’s so strange to write that.  I’m sure he was not thinking that his life would be ending this week.  Who thinks that about themselves?  Typically we go through life assuming we have years ahead of us.  The younger we are the more likely we assume this sort of thing.

Thinking about him passing away has caused me to wonder what I’m doing with myself.  I feel that God has been working in my life in some wonderful ways lately, but I want to know for sure that I am in the center of His will.  If there is something else I should be doing, I am ready to know.  It’s pretty easy for me to begin saying something like, “If God wants me to share the gospel with more people I’ll do it.”  I could see myself saying, “If God wants me to spend more time in His Word I will.”  But why am I prefacing those statements with the word “if”?  God does want me to share the gospel with more people. God does want me to spend more time in His Word.  It isn’t a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “when” am I going to do it?

If today reminds me of one thing it reminds me that we have no idea how long we have to tell people about the gospel.  Everywhere you look you have Christians who have moms and dads, brothers and sister, cousins, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, teachers and bosses.  Everywhere you look you have Christians with best friends and Christians with acquaintances.  Most of them are doing absolutely nothing to tell those closest to them that they have one decision to make that is more important than any choice they will ever face.  If they are not sharing this desperate truth with those closest to them, you can bet they are struggling to share it with people they don’t know intimately.

As I was writing portions of these thoughts late Wednesday I put my computer aside for a minute to send a quick message to a friend.  The message simply read, “I can’t believe he’s dead.”  How many times have people said those words?  I’m not asking how many times people have said those words about Travis Worden.  I’m asking how many times people have said those words in general.  In the course of human history I can imagine that those words have been blurted out more times than we can count in a life time.  So many of us have said “I can’t believe ______ is dead.”  We say that because we are so often thrown off by death.  Whether it is sudden or not, we never seem prepared.  The person who died could be 18 or 100 and it makes no difference.  The sad truth is that we often say we can’t believe someone is dead because we wish we had one more chance to talk to them.

Life just seems to distract us from telling people about eternal life.  As I write this I am tracking a storm on the weather radar moving along the majority of the East Coast.  They’re saying it will pour a half an inch of rain on Pennsylvania in the next several hours.  At any moment I can start researching new computers or phones.  I could read the news or sit like a lump in front of my television.  I can sleep in until 11:00 AM and I can spend the rest of the day laying around in a mindless stupor.  Any of us can.

The devil doesn’t need to work very hard when Christians aren’t working very hard.

Who have I shared Christ with lately?  Who have I held accountable lately?  What stops me from telling a waitress or a pharmacist about the love of God?  If I had 24 hours left to live would I spend it sharing the gospel with people like they only had 24 hours left to live?  Why can’t I start sharing Christ with that fervor?  After all, one day all of us really will only have 24 hours left to live.

Please keep the entire Worden family in your prayers.  Please share this blog with anyone you know. Students need to hear it.  Pastors need to hear it.  Parents need to hear it.  This could be a wake up call for all of us who think we have all the time in the world to tell our loved ones about Christ.  It could be a wake up call for anyone who thinks they have plenty of time to come to Jesus.

About the Author:

Travis Rusko is a youth speaker and author. He currently lives in Somerset, Pennsylvania with his wife Brittany.

Comments (11)

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  1. Philip says:

    Travis…first time in a long time, I am short on words. May the Holy Spirit lead us to say and do the right things in times like these. Philip

  2. Blairissaved says:

    I would like to share Travis' picture and this blog with my youth group this Sunday night. My topic this Sunday was “The need to share Jesus with others.” This story could be a tool to help make my point more meaningful. I hope that is okay. My heart is broken for the family members and friends. My prayers have gone out. I have an 18 year old and could not imagine God calling her home. I know God will be glorified by this, but I know it will be painful as well. I pray for Strength from above for you all!

    Pastor Blair Blakeslee

  3. Tjrepper says:

    This broke my heart. He is the same age as my brother. I will be praying for his family.

  4. Kathy Zylo says:

    Several years ago, we lost my nephew, Billy, in a auto accident, he was only 24. The shock of that day still lingers to this day for us. Travis lived just down the road from my house and stopped in many, many times to see my daughter Anastasia and her boyfriend Brandon. He was the kind of friend you just love from the moment you meet him.It's such a tragic loss in our very small community,where friends keep their friends very close to the heart. As these young people deal with the heartbreaking loss of Travis, I remind them of what my late mother told me-“Even angels stumble and fall and they always end up in heaven where they all belong.” Perhaps others can use her quote as well. Our prayers are going out to his many family members, friends, and church family members.

  5. Debbiwitt says:

    Thanks so much for your prayers on behalf of Travis' family.

  6. Debbiwitt says:

    Thanks for you your prayers, Kathy. There are so many teens to share Christ's love and forgiveness with and so little time. We never know how close we are to stepping into eternity. . .

  7. Debbiwitt says:

    Eternity really becomes real to us when things like this happen. Thanks for your prayers for his family.

  8. Debbiwitt says:

    It's always so hard to know what to say…. I'm glad the Holy Spirit helps us when we don't know what to do or say… Please continue to pray for Travis' parent and his sisters.

  9. Travis says:

    Blair, thank you for using his story to talk to your students about this all important topic. Please let us know how it went.

  10. Dawn-#632 mother says:

    Thank-you all for your prayers and your awesome ministry at teen quest. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that is sustaining us all . I am as Travis's mother so grateful for the influence teen quest had on Travis. God was glorified at his funeral as 75 to 100 people, yes that is the corrrect number stood up and made first time decisions for Christ. We can only pray that they will follow through on their committments and grow in Christ.Travis is riding with the angels in glory and our prayer is that even more people will be saved (like # 632 people ) thru others sharing about the miracles and answered prayers that were witnessed in this terrible tragedy.

  11. Gregg Worden says:

    I'll miss him so much. I'll never forget the time we went on that trip down the green river and him jumpin 30 ft in the water off a rock. The times we would ride. great times.. I'll miss trav.

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