My dad died thirteen years ago yesterday. It’s hard to believe thirteen years have passed.
It’s all still a bit surreal.
My life seems to be somewhat of a paradox. Tragedy weaves throughout the storyline of my life, yet God has given me a good life––full of many joys, many blessings, and yes, much heartache.
Honestly, I miss my dad. I think I always will. But my dad’s absence is always a bit more real on the anniversary of his death.
Three years ago, on August 5th, I found myself writing my fourth letter to Anthony. All doors had closed. I wasn’t going to be able to visit him in prison as I was hoping to. Yet, I was committed to pursuing forgiveness and peace through our correspondence.
In my letter, I wrote:
Ironically, I’m writing you on the tenth anniversary of my dad’s death. While in a way, it does get easier over time, there are wounds that run deep and have effected my entire being. I think God has me on the path in order to heal those wounds. I’m coming to a place of peace and forgiveness that can only be done through our Lord Jesus Christ. Though I’m not quite there yet, I believe that God will bring me to that point someday.
God, of course, did bring me peace with my past and granted me the grace I needed to forgive a few months later.
And now, after three years passed, I once again find a letter in my hand. But this time, it’s from Anthony, and it’s dripping with God’s grace.
In this most recent letter, Anthony tells me about his struggle with sharing the gospel with fellow prisoners. He tells me about one man, particularly moved by our testimony, who was baptized four weeks ago. He shares some his struggles, his prayers. And he even tells me he had the opportunity to preach last week. And then Anthony gives me a little encouragement about our adoption (as we’ve been feeling a bit discouraged lately). He says:
It will happen. It’s like you said, Satan will throw everything at you to stop it. He doesn’t want Christians raising Christians! I don’t mean to hurt you but look what he did with my family. He tore it apart…BUT what he meant for evil God used to glorify Himself! Your dad was saved, you were saved, and hopefully our story will save others…
This, my dear friends, is God’s grace at work. Jesus has, indeed, turned this thing around. It’s what He does. We do have an adversary who seeks to devour, but what what Satan means for evil, God is sure to use for good.
Jesus is our victor. He is our redeemer.
So, each time you’re tempted to question the goodness of God––each time you wonder whether or not the situation before you will turn out––remember who our God is. Remember that He is a God who accomplishes the impossible.
And if you’re dealing with tragedy today, I’d like to encourage you. It does get easier, and Jesus will redeem your pain the moment you come to him.
So, another year has passed. My dad’s absence continues to sadden my heart. Yet, I know God has and will continue to weave this tragedy into something even more beautiful and radiant than we can imagine. And it is my hope and life’s goal to see Jesus glorified in the process.
What area in your life do you hope to see God’s redeem? Share in the comments.