13 years ago today, I heard the words every parent dreads. “Your children are dead. We need to ask you to identify their bodies.” The officer and chaplain in that Emporia, Kansas hospital led me down a seemingly endless hallway to face the impossible. Only by the sheer grace of Almighty God could I even stand uprightly then…and still to this day…as I vividly recall those dreadful moments.
The chaplain later shared some sacred Scripture with me that helped bring comfort. This verse helps address the question we all ask: “Why?”.
“Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die”. (Isaiah 57:1-2)
Knowing that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” gave me peace beyond measure at the worst of times. My family is safely tucked in God’s Mighty care.
Surrender to God’s will, no matter how difficult the journey. All is well – in His Hands.
There in the hospital room, as grief and tears swallowed me, I placed my hands on a little keyboard that a kindhearted nurse had brought me. I needed to find some way to express my overwhelming grief. This instrumental song I composed there in the Emporia hospital, “Behold, My Family” attempts to scratch the surface. I pray it blesses you.
13 years ago today – my life changed forever – as our family was literally plunged “Into the Deep” in the 2003 Kansas Flint-Hills Flash-Flood over Labor Day weekend. I never could have fathomed what ultimately happened that day, nor the grace and strength from Almighty God that pulled me through.
To this day, I am still humbled by your prayers and God’s grace which have brought me safe thus far. “Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come.” We can all relate in some way, can’t we? Where would we be without Jesus and His Comforter, the Holy Spirit?
People often say to me, “I couldn’t get through that like you.” Indeed, “Neither could I,” is how I typically respond. In my weakness, God is strong. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) I still cry. I still grieve. I still miss my Heavenly family. Yet, I still trust God. His joy is my strength.
Be encouraged by what God can do through a broken man like me over these past 13 years. As bleak and devastating as your situation appears, know that Jesus broke the chains of death on the Cross of Calvary. Greater is His power within you than any circumstance this world throws your way.
I encourage you to do your part and cling to Him. Abide in Him. Trust Jesus. Know God. In doing so, you will begin to Live a Life of No Regrets.
13 years ago, I came home from work on a Friday (Aug 29, 2003). Our family savored our celebratory “pizza, popcorn, movies, and ice cream” Friday family fun night. Little did I know, it would be our last night together…
Cherish your Family Intentionally.
Moms, Dads, Grandparents…cherish every moment with your children possible. Turn off the TV. Tune into your family. Put down your phone, emails, texts, agenda, and endless work. Make the most of tonight with your family. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Just be present with your family – as best as you can, given the swirling circumstances surrounding you. It may just be doing the dishes together, or a goodnight blessing at bedtime. Your focused family time means more than you realize. Don’t wait until “someday”. That day is today. You’ll never regret it.
“Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” (James 4:13-14)