8.28. Those numbers aren’t just a date to me. Those numbers redefine everything. 8.28 brings so many emotions. Sadness and anger. Guilt and resentment. Fear and emptiness.
On 8/28/13, our family of six, became a family of five. My parents no longer had a son and I became the oldest child, the oldest sibling. 8.28 is the day my brother took his life, leaving an unfillable hole and changing lives forever.
8.28 left me with images that haunt and a heart that will forever need healing. But those numbers also leave me with hope.
Six months before my brother died he showed me a verse from the Bible. Even though I know with certainty he’d heard it before many times during his life, he read it like it was the first time. He sat down next to me with the Bible in his hand and he said to me, “Heid look”. And then he read these words to me, “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. It may not have been the first time he heard those words, but it was the first time he believed that God could and would work things out for the good for him.
For so long after my brother’s death I thought I would never get the chance to see him again, to spend eternity with him, because I didn’t think he had a relationship with Jesus. And then I remembered this moment. I remembered he had read me Romans 8.28 with intensity and awe, and how he had taken comfort in those words. I feel so grateful that I got to be witness to that pivotal, far-reaching moment. That moment, that I believe now, was where he turned around and said yes to Jesus.
And I find it incredible that God would use a memory with my brother to bring me healing. It was as if God was using David six months prior to his death, to prepare me for what was to come. To inadvertently gift me a verse that I could desperately cling to while my world was falling apart. I believe God created that moment, so that a year later, I could remember that moment and find hope. Something I’d been searching for, longing for, praying for. Hope that I would one day see my brother again. Hope that God would some day use my brother’s death to break and reshape me and others into more of His image and bring glory to Him. We may not see “the good” that can come from bad in our lifetime, but I know we will see it, if we can just hang on for the moment when Jesus brings us home.
“When we read Romans 8:28 in its context we can give a positive answer to the questions of pain and suffering in the world. We may see nothing good come of misery and disaster in this world, but this world is not all of reality. There is an ‘until’; there is a place beyond the horizon of what our senses can apprehend, and it is more real and more lasting than what we experience in this mortal shell. God is using the present, even the miserable present, to conform us to the image of his Son. If we define the good as only what we can see in this life, then we have missed the whole point of this text” (Daniel B. Wallace).
All things are not good. Cancer, financial hardship, abuse, divorce, suicide. None of these things are good. But there is an “until”. God can bring good from ALL things in our lives if we will simply love Him. He has promised us this. The only thing we have to do, is say yes to Jesus.
8.28. Those numbers aren’t just a date to me. Those numbers redefine everything. Yes, 8.28 brings so many emotions. Sadness and anger. Guilt and resentment. Fear and emptiness. But now, those numbers also bring hope.