last time i stopped in to briefly say a single thing, it was to say that God is good in the healing of long-broken knees, and the rejuvination of a heart along with it.
this time i am stopping in briefly to say another single thing: that God is still good in the midst of death and grief.
last night, derek taatjes, the youth pastor at Crossroads (where i attended church before we planted our own here on the west side), died in his home, along with his six month-old son, dylan, in to a house fire. his wife and daughters were in florida visiting family. today, at the Crossroads offices, there are hundreds of people coming and going, wanting — needing — to be together, to cry, to remember, to honor, to pray.
i barely knew derek, but somehow he always remembered who i was (i never would have expected him to). and during these last 40 days of 24-7 prayer, he has had the prayer slot immediately following mine on friday afternoons, which means i’ve seen him more lately, have been able, in fact, to pray for him and his brothers who shared his prayer slot as i passed the baton to them on my way out. he’d been asking me questions about my pregnancy, about how i was feeling about becoming a mother; and he was telling me stories from his own parenting adventures of his little daughters, whom he obviously adored.
the other thing i remember about derek is more of a word association: i associated derek with holiness. i remember this theme running throughout any sermon i ever heard him preach: that we are to be holy unto God. never in a burdensome fire-and-brimstone kind of a way, but more as a privileged invitation: be holy, dear children, as He is holy. and i think derek lived by that, didn’t just preach it.
so today i’m tear-filled on and off, mostly as i think of his wife and daughters, who lost a home, a husband/father, and a son/brother in the most unpredictable way and who now have to find a way to keep living fully without all of that. i pray Jesus is so very near to them, that their hearts be protected and soaked in love, and that God will be known to them as GOOD in the midst of death and grief. but when i think of derek, now standing in FULL holiness with Jesus, that makes more real to me the fullness of the hope that we have in Christ.
ps: my friend wrote about derek today, too. it’s real good. and you can read it here.