Yesterday marked six years since my younger brother’s death on January 11, 2006. I have never been one to post things on Facebook on certain days of the year. I prefer to keep those things close to my heart. Honestly, those certain days don’t hold any uncommon emotions for me. I miss Ben every day, not just that one. And I miss him at random times, not necessarily the times in which I am ‘supposed’ to miss him.
Before I write any more, please understand that this post is not a knock on anyone who publishes their thoughts about Ben or other loved ones that have passed away. I truly appreciate those who posted things about him, both yesterday and at other times as well. It’s wonderful to know that people still think about him. He made an impact on a lot of people in his short life here on earth. I just feel an overwhelming prompting to share my thoughts with you tonight.
If you know me, you know that I am a pretty private person. I’m not typically loud and, most of the time, I try to not draw attention to myself. I treasure time alone. That’s just who I am. Ben was the exact opposite. He was always the loud one. He thrived in front of crowds. People were drawn to him. All he had to do was walk into a room and people flocked to his side. I think Ben got all of the extroverted genes in our family. Mom must have saved her social butterfly genes for him because I don’t think I got any of them.
Okay, side story finished. Back to the purpose of this post.
This year, I have been thinking a lot about Ben and his death in particular. When I think about it, I don’t feel sad. That would be the logical emotion. Instead, I am absolutely overcome with gratitude to my God. There are a lot of reasons for this emotion, a few of which I will explain:
1. God was glorified through Ben’s life. Ben was a person who truly sought the Lord. He wanted to glorify Him in everything he did. Sure, he messed up. We all do. But his heart’s desire was to make much of Christ and he did that while he was here on earth.
2. God was glorified (and is being glorified) through Ben’s death. Through this tragedy, God has changed the course of lives. I have heard stories from people whose lives have been deeply affected by his death and they tell me how God has drawn them closer to Himself as a result of that situation. And I speak for myself and tell you that He definitely changed the course of mine. My life is entirely different now than it was six years ago. I never wanted to go to seminary. Guess what? I’m in seminary. I never thought I would be preparing to move to another country for a long-term mission trip. Yep, you guessed it. That’s what I’m doing (and that alone deserves an entirely different post).
3. God works all things together for our good and His glory. God is sovereign. While we may not understand why things happen, we can rest in the fact that He is in control. He holds all the details of the world in His hands, even down to the number of hairs on our heads, and orchestrates them all perfectly. He has our very best interests in mind. And, by the way, our very best interests are what will give Him the most glory! God knows us intimately and He wants a relationship with us. That’s why He sent Jesus! Jesus Christ became the sacrifice for our sins on the cross so that we may be restored and reconciled to Him. I don’t fully understand why Ben passed away at age 22, but I have faith that God knows the reasons. He is working everything together.
Do you know what I think Ben would say if we were to ask him about his death? He would say that it was worth it! It was worth his life for God to be glorified.
If anything, January 11 is a day of celebration. Ben is not dead. He is HOME! He is right where he wants to be. He doesn’t want to be back here. He is with his Creator, the God of the universe, the One he adored while he was here on earth and the One he worships now with all that he is.
We will always selfishly miss Ben while we are on earth. But I know that there will be a sweet reunion one day! A reunion unlike anything I can imagine. And I will do with Ben what I am unable to do with him in the flesh right now…worship! We will be able to worship our God together for all eternity along with every tribe, tongue, and nation!
If that doesn’t make you grateful, I don’t know what will!