“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
- Romans 8:28
One year ago today, my brother-in-law Kevin lost his heart-breaking battle with brain cancer at the age of 48. He left behind his wife and 2 children, and so many others, who deeply loved and respected him.
A year later, I still find it hard to find any gratitude in that. This is a blog about gratitude and faith. I’m struggling to find either in any of this. In place of the comfort and peace I usually get from my bible reading, Romans 8:28 is like sandpaper to my soul. How can anything about Kevin’s death be good?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly thankful for how much everyone has rallied around my sister-in-law, neice and nephew, Kevin’s mother, siblings and others. I’m glad for the blessings of financial, emotional and spiritual support they’ve received. And I’m grateful for the grace God has given them throughout this year. But I’m not grateful for the reason why.
Kevin was a good, hardworking, faithful and decent man. He loved his wife and children. He loved God. He lived with integrity and was a great role model to so many young men, including my son. He accomplished so much in his life and could have contributed so much more. Why did God chose to take such a good man home so soon?
The truth is I don’t know. But slowly, I am realizing that I don’t have to know. I just need to trust. I need to trust that somehow in God’s plan, even this works together for the good. I need to remember that God is good. All the time. That’s what Kevin would want anyway.
I love the way Ann Voskamp reflects on gratitude when she says, “This world doesn’t need trendy gratitude like it needs Jesus gratitude. The kind that gives thanks for the bread and the nails.” Suffering is a part of the Christian experience. We may not understand its purpose, but God does and He will always use it for good. Were there no nails in Jesus’ life, there’d be no salvation in mine. So in faith, I trust that the nails from Kevin’s life will someday be the seeds of blessing in the lives of those who knew and loved him.
If you are reading this because you know Kevin, or because you’ve recently lost someone and are struggling to make sense of it, I pray that you can find hope in God and strength to trust in Him. I pray for peace as you remember the impact that person had on your life. I pray for courage to do one thing today that honors their memory. May you find comfort and blessing as you do so.