I always tell Doug that I won the in-law lottery. I love my in-laws. And this past week, I was reminded that his extended family is pretty special too. Two weeks ago, Doug received the heart breaking news that his cousin’s son, Josh, had taken his own life. We made the trip to San Antonio and it was such a bittersweet time of grieving and fellowship. Family members who normally, for whatever reason, don’t see each other often showed up from all over the country. A gesture that said, “We may not always be together, but right now, we shouldn’t be apart. You are not alone.” Upon observation and through conversation, I realized we all had this in common: our faith in Jesus Christ. It was a gift to hear about their churches and ministries and to share about ours. When our hearts are broken, it is necessary to dwell on He who heals, restores, and gives true peace and hope.
Josh, himself, also gave the family a gift through the words he wrote for an 8th grade English assignment. The paper was titled, “This I Believe: Jesus can give anyone a completely new identity.”
Here is a excerpt:
“As I’ve grown as a Christian, I’ve increasingly seen people more as God sees them: dearly loved, but in rebellion. The Spirit also augments my conscience: I’m still tempted, but I can no longer allow a sin to run rampant in my life. Whenever I do something that saddens God, it also offends me (why would I dare to betray my savior) and He helps me conquer the issue. I also now have a peace, an unnatural, illogical and unexplainable peace, that I can call to whenever life throws something crazy at me. Basically, I did absolutely nothing to earn salvation; I just humbled and gave myself, and asked for forgiveness.
This relationship radically changed my mindset and contrasted my self-centered and materialistic attitude of only a few years ago. This I believe: This kind of transformation exceeds the usual maturing of adolescence; testifies to my change of identity when I bowed my own will to God’s and handed over my life.”
Josh’s life was cut way too short, but our hope rests in knowing his eternity is secured and we will see him again one day.