One year ago, my 14-year-old cousin, R.J. Kruse, suffered a tragic accident at home. Five days later, doctors officially pronounced him dead.
I was at his bedside with his parents, John and Sharon, as doctors removed the life support. If you haven't experienced this situation, it's impossible to understand the emotional roller coaster it is; the wavering between hope and despair, faith and doubt.
Those days in the hospital with my family were some of the most difficult we've ever been through. Many people were praying for R.J. I fasted for three days and kept a bedside vigil through the night with John and Sharon, interceding for R.J.'s life. We believed we'd witness a miracle for God's glory.
We laid our hands on R.J., praying like Jesus did for Lazarus, "R.J., come forth!" We cried out to Jesus for his life, expecting him to awaken. After all, the Bible contains many instances of God raising the dead—Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:54), Lazarus (John 11:43-44), and Jesus Himself (Mark 16:1-8). I know people personally who've been raised from the dead. I've featured their testimonies in my Divine Intervention book and radio show, like Ian McCormack and Jeff Markin.
Saint Paul wrote, "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also futile" (1 Cor. 15). In Acts 26, Paul asks King Agrippa, "Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?" Considering these things, along with some of Jesus' promises, like that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14), is it unreasonable to expect an omnipotent, loving God to raise this faithful couple's son?
Imagine the massive disappointment and sadness when he didn't awaken, and the doctor said, "I'm sorry. R.J. has passed." John and Sharon, beside themselves with grief, held each other at the foot of R.J.'s bed, sobbing uncontrollably at the realization that their beloved son was gone. I'll never forget that scene. What can one say in such a situation? I had no words. I simply embraced them, crying with them for a while.
While the fight for life at the hospital ended, my family's grieving process was just beginning. Adjusting to life without sweet R.J. has been hard on our whole family, but especially for John, Sharon and R.J.'s siblings. R.J. was a loving, compassionate, patient, faithful, tenderhearted boy. He was especially kind and sensitive toward the elderly and infirm.
He'd often sit with my 97-year-old grandmother, play games with her, read his Bible to her or just listen to her stories. He had wisdom beyond his years. Once he questioned my aunt about why people cry at funerals. "After all," he said, "if the person is in heaven with Jesus, we should be happy for them."
Our family was blessed to have R.J. for 14 wonderful years. While he's sorely missed, we take comfort in knowing that R.J. knew the Lord. He's with Jesus in heaven, experiencing joy and peace, having earned his eternal reward. Painful as it was, it was a tremendous honor for me, being at R.J.'s bedside, holding his hand as he slipped peacefully into Jesus' arms.
Why didn't God raise R.J.? We may never know this side of eternity. Is God still God, worthy of our praise? For me, the answer is "yes." The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Friends, please hug your children and loved ones. Tell them you love them. Tomorrow is not promised. We have no control over how long we live, or when we die. We're only one heartbeat away from eternity, so please check your heart.
Get right with God. Don't leave this planet without Jesus. You must have forgiveness for your sins. That can only be done through faith in Christ. Put your trust in His finished work on Calvary's cross, and you'll be saved.
Daniel Fazzina's professional background is in media production. His experience includes hosting radio shows, editing music videos, directing a short film, and award-winning commercials. His radio program, "The Divine Intervention Radio Show," can be heard on various radio stations across America, and on the internet at divineinterventionradio.com. Daniel's own personal testimony of miraculous healings—one from a painful chronic back condition in 2001, and one from a massive, cancerous tumor in 2002, led him to start the Divine Intervention Radio show and book series, in which he interviews intriguing people who have experienced the hand of God in Amazing ways.
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