Posted in Suffering/Healing
Scripture: “… Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
For the first 15 years of my life, God was very good to me. I grew up going to church and was always thankful for everything God had given me and all that I had. I was happy….
But in October 2018, my life changed. I found out my father had brain cancer. Through the 15 months that he fought cancer, I always knew that we could lose him. On January 12 of 2020, my dad died. It was one of the worst days of my life. I looked up to my dad my whole life. We both love sports – playing sports, watching sports, talking about sports. One of the things I miss most is lying around on the couch and watching football with him on Sundays.
My father’s death hit me hard. How is this fair? It isn’t fair. But, a part of faith and believing in God is trusting that God does all things for the better for us. My dad’s favorite Bible verse was Romans 8:28: “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.” I try my best to keep this Bible verse in my mind and heart.
After my dad died, I felt lost…. I was mad at the world, and for the first time in my life, I knew unhappiness. I hurt people, probably didn’t make some of the smartest decisions, and said things I did not mean to people I care about. I stayed up many sleepless nights praying and thinking about everything.
I knew deep down that I wasn’t alone through this. I have God. I have my family. I have many people who care for me and look out for me on a regular basis. I have friends.
My friends and I got very close during this time. One in particular who was very helpful was Bailey Pratt. During this time of confusion and sadness in my life, Bailey often called me to talk to me about God, and how I needed to keep my faith strong. He reminded me that we can’t always control the bad things that happen, so I needed to just trust in God. I listened to him, and as more time went on and more phone calls would go on late into the night, our discussions about me being confused and sad lessened. Bailey helped me see life more positively. I began to pray even more and grow a stronger relationship with God. My life was getting back on track. I felt like the “old me.” I owed all of that to my friendship with Bailey.
On November 28, 2020, my family and I were in Charleston having a nice weekend because it was my parents’ 22nd anniversary. We had a nice lovely day trying to help my mom have the best day she could and keep her mind off of everything. Later that night sitting in our hotel, I got a phone call from my friend crying that Bailey was in a bad car accident. Minutes later, I found out Bailey was dead.
I was in shock. Sitting there in my hotel room after just having the nicest day with my family trying to keep our minds off the fact it was my parents’ anniversary without my dad being there, and I get a call that my best friend passed away in a car accident…. How is that fair? How is that possible? How could God do this to me AGAIN?
I was and still am very confused why these things have happened to me in my life. I am only 17 years old, and two very special people to me are in Heaven way earlier than I ever expected. I have my moments where I am very angry at God and am very confused about what to do with my life. But deep down, I know God doesn’t have mess-ups no matter how I feel about things.
The things my dad and Bailey taught me will last me a lifetime. I am so thankful that I was able to have them as a parent and a friend. I really do believe that Bailey was my angel on Earth and now in Heaven. He helped me strengthen my relationship with God, and I will forever be grateful for him.
My message today is this: although things may not always go the way you want them to go, and you may not have all the people by your side that you want to have, and God makes decisions that you may question or not agree with, always keep your faith strong with God. Always know that he is going to lead you to the right path even if it is unclear in that moment. God is there in the good times and the bad times, and he will always be there for you. You are never alone, no matter how alone you feel.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for Eastminster, for Pastor Nick’s leadership and friendship, and for reminding us that we are never alone. You are with us always. Amen.
Submitted by Boyce Bankhead, Senior at A.C. Flora High School