Praying over Bible

During the holiday season, we can often come to a place of asking the question, “If God is real, loving and hope filled, how could (insert bad situation here) be happening in my life?”

In some ways, I can relate. It was only seven short years ago that my brother Jack, only 32 years of age, died at the hands of a battle with cancer. He left a young wife, Sarah, and two sweet boys, Aaron and Andrew, behind. Sometimes, that feeling of loss would be so overwhelming, it would take my breath away – and not just my breath, but often, my joy as well.

Seven years later, Jack’s sweet wife Sarah, who is now remarried to an amazing man named Darren, shared some thoughts on the whole journey in a letter to Jack that I wanted to share with you. My prayer is that you see the hope that is found when God is invited into even the deepest part of our journey of life.

“Dear Jack,

What are birthdays like in Heaven?

The day you met Jesus and stared into his radiant face – the day when all of the earthly struggles ended and your reward was granted. What did it sound like to hear Jesus call your name, and the weight of sin and illness fell off like a garment? Today, we remember the seven Dec. 1’s that have come and gone since you met Jesus and finished your earthly race so bravely and courageously.

Each of these ‘heaven birthdays’ have looked a little different for us, but today was a special one. Your memory and legacy still inspire and bless our hearts, Jack. We talk often of you and tell stories of the times we shared – some funny, and others tender and precious as we think back to our last moments with you.

You would be so proud of your boys who are growing up to be just like you – strong, bold, funny, athletic and lovers of Jesus. Your faithful prayers for a godly man to come alongside of me to love me well in your place have been answered, and today, this precious provision to your prayers brought us to one of our most sacred spaces, the ocean, to remember and celebrate you.

This practical evidence is God’s answer to your prayers – our beloved Darren and precious 3-year-old Luke – evidence that God wasn’t done with our lives when you went to Heaven. He had so much more in store, and the greatest part involves these two joining our family.

I can’t wait for you to meet them and hug them with a “Keller” hug. Thank you for praying for the man who would redeem our family and make it whole again. If only you could see all that God has done the last seven years, Jack. God is so good, and we honor and praise Him today for his faithfulness. Thank you for the legacy you left. We love and celebrate you today!

I know not everyone’s situation is exactly like this, but may you know that the God that created you is for you and not against you, even when it might feel that way. During this holiday season, may you rest in the truth of Romans 8:31 and 32 which says, ‘So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?’”

– Josh Keller is pastor of youth ministries at Cornerstone Church in Litchfield.

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