Phone Calls…

The year 2013 was not a good year for phone calls:

Dad called early one morning on my way to work and Aunt Mavis passed away….

A few weeks later, mom called and my cousin Pam was gone…

Just a few days later, mom called again and my cousin Bill was gone..

Not too long after that, Derrick called and one of my best friends Danny was gone…

Only a month later, and I got the call that my dad was gone.

Since then, it has only continued. Stephanie called and her uncle Guy was gone…

Since then, I have found out that 2 of my childhood friends have cancer….

Today, we got a call that a family member has had her cancer return.

Why in the world would I ever continue to answer the phone? Why do we continue to watch the news when so many times it is about war, and death, and destruction? Why if God is such a loving God, why does He let this continue? Why does He let his creation continue to move away from Him and move toward more self dependence?

I have pondered these questions all morning long. Why? Why? Why? The answer is simple…

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

But….how can losing my dad be good? But…how can losing so many friends and family members be good?

I don’t claim to have all the answers but a few, I can see now.

When Pam passed away, I was asked to speak at her funeral and I had the opportunity to share the gospel with so many family members that I know are lost. I also learned  how much I meant to Pam and that is priceless.

Just weeks before Bill passed away, he made his peace and the whole family got to be with him for the first time in years.

When Dad passed, I got to stand beside my brother as he spoke at the funeral. Then I had the opportunity to speak and share the gospel to more people than I have ever had the opportunity to. God propped us up and spoke through both my brother and  me and so many people have told my mom how that touched them. Since then he has also spoken at youth events and shared his heart and testimony. I also learned that week just how many lives my dad touched and topped the week off by learning of his salvation experience. For so many years, I had prayed for God to draw him in and that week, I got the peace of knowing my prayers had been answered.

I don’t know the silver lining to each dark cloud but a few things that I do know. God is God and no matter how much I try to control my life, He is in control. He is still God. Regardless of how dark life gets, or how much I miss my dad and the other friends and family that have gone on this year, God is still in control. He is still working all things for His glory, not Keith’s. I didn’t understand why He took us out of youth ministry but He knew that we would not be able to take care of the family and do youth ministry at the same time. I didn’t know why Stephanie was laid off but He made it so that she has been able to do so many things to help sell the house. I didn’t understand why we didn’t fit in at the church we went back to but now God has us at a new church that we love and feel loved at.

I don’t know why cancer has to affect so many people close to us but I do know that nothing is too big for God. I do know that those close to us will come out of this with greater faith and a strong testimony.

God is still in control and He is still working all things for His glory in our lives.

We are still moving forward with where we feel God is leading us. We are still working toward growing our family, selling our home and moving so that we can be closer to family.

We are still trusting God regardless of the phone calls.

Dear God,

As I write this post, I remember how tough of a year 2013 was. Each difficult time, I see You right beside me. Thank You for the blessings of life that You have given me, for those You put in my life to help me when others are gone. Thank You for the amazing wife and family that You have given me to lean on when I felt that I could not stand on my own. Help us to continue to trust You in the coming years.