Earlier this week, Faithwire reported on the tragic death of 10-year-old Connecticut boy, Ben Callahan, who died July 7 in a tragic river accident while playing with his brothers. On Sunday, thousands attended a vigil in Branford, Connecticut, to honor Ben’s short, yet remarkable life.
“To see this community everybody come out together it was really overwhelming and cool,” Ben’s father, David Callahan, told WFSB-TV.
Those who knew Ben described him as a “peaceful little warrior” — a joyful, loving, humble individual who excelled in sports and academics. In the wake of his untimely death, people are learning more and more about the amazing faith that sustained Ben and continues to strengthen his family.
Speaking to local news outlet zip06.com, Dave said he and his wife plan to heal from this unimaginable grief and love their two sons through it by relying on their faith in Jesus Christ.
“When we are at our weakest, that is when we rely upon him to be strong,” Callahan said.
He hopes that people will come to understand, and not be put off by, his family’s faith as they look to Christ for guidance.
“We just want the world to love Christ and to know that to follow Jesus you don’t have to be weird,” he said. “I know that for some people that won’t make sense. And it doesn’t start with the church stuff or the religion part of it. It starts with the relationship you have with Christ. If it’s a real and vibrant relationship, it starts to become real.”
Callahan wants people who hear of Ben’s vibrant life and tragic death to know that faith is absolutely the only thing getting his family through right now.
“We are just totally leaning and letting Jesus be strong,” he said.
Ben was playing with his brothers, Cooper and Scout, near the Branford River after Friday afternoon’s rainstorms when he was sucked into a four-foot pipe, Branford Police Captain Geoff Morgan said. The little boy’s brothers desperately tried to save Ben, but the current was far too powerful.
Though losing Ben doesn’t, and may never, make sense, Callahan said he has to believe that God is in the details, and to remain faithful regardless of what things look like on the surface.
“The whims and whirlpools of life are not going to catch God by surprise,” he said.
Callahan shared that one of Ben’s favorite Bible passages was Romans 8:35-39:
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below — indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Support for the Callahan family in the wake of their loss has been overwhelming. A GoFundMe page created in Ben’s honor has raised nearly $30,000, far exceeding its initial goal of $5,000. Dave Callahan says he and his family are brainstorming ways to put that money to good use.
“We tend to give everything away,” he told zip06.com. “If we get a big Christmas gift, we try to give it away. We are looking at all of this money coming in, and we are grateful, but we don’t want this for ourselves. But this is other people’s way of grieving, so we are grateful for that and we are asking, ‘What can we do with this?'”
He said the family will be meeting with somebody to discuss setting up a non-profit organization that would honor his son’s legacy.
“We’re looking into how we set up a scholarship, a scholarship for somebody that embodies Ben’s heart.”
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