“I Know the Plans I Have For You…”
Posted by elainemcooper on October 12, 2012
Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper
My daughter, Bethany, passed away from a brain tumor nine years ago this month. She was twenty-four years old.
Her short life was rich with friends whose lives she touched in so many ways. A strong believer in Christ, she continued to be a witness for the Lord up until she died. But even death did not stop the seeds she had planted during her moments on earth—seeds that continued to bloom long after her graveside flowers had faded.
When she was ill and suffering from the devastating effects of the disease, she attended an adult care center twice a week for people with brain injuries. She met a young man there (I’ll call him “Sam”) who had been in a car accident several years prior and was now blind as well as having other injuries.
Bethany had witnessed to Sam, but he wanted nothing to do with her belief in God. Before she died, Bethany shared with me privately how worried she was about his salvation. I don’t remember exactly how I reassured her at the time. I do remember thinking I didn’t have time to be concerned about Sam when I was concerned about her. But I’m sure I told her we would keep praying for him.
The inevitable happened a few weeks later when the cancerous tumor took our daughter’s life. Sam attended her funeral but he was devastated and angry. We lost touch with him for quite awhile, still trying to recover from our own grief.
A year later, I was painting Bethany’s bedroom a fresh new color—bright pink, befitting her personality.
Keeping extra busy helped me while I still recovered from the sting of her loss. A few hours of work would provide some mind-numbing escape, I thought.
There was a desk in the room with a few items on it that I thought I had gone through already. But I found a piece of paper sitting there that I hadn’t seen before. It had Sam’s name and phone number on it, in a handwriting that I did not recognize.
I stared at the phone number a moment, pondering what to do. Our church was having a special service coming up, so I spontaneously called Sam to ask him if we could pick him up and take him with us. To my total surprise, he responded, “yes.”
During the service, he was earnestly listening to the speaker who spoke about confessing Jesus as Savior. The message of the gospel completely engaged Sam’s attention—it was obvious the Holy Spirit had been doing an incredible work in his life.
When the preacher asked for anyone who wanted to make a decision to come to the Lord, Sam seemed anxious as he shifted in his seat. I leaned over and asked him if he wanted to go forward with me to pray. He gave an enthusiastic, “yes,” then clenched my sleeve as I led his blinded path up to the counselor. Sam gave his life to the Lord that day and his spiritual path became filled with clarity of vision.
Ever since then, my husband drives over every Sunday morning to pick Sam up and he comes to church with us to this day. He is still one of the most engaged listeners at every sermon.
When I told my son, Ben, this story, I could practically feel his smile on the other end of the phone line. “Bethany is still having an impact in people’s lives.”
Indeed. Even in her illness, she was still sowing seeds of obedience and love. And in facing her death, she understood in a greater way what one’s life in Christ truly meant.
Her favorite Bible verse was Jeremiah 29:11 and the reference is etched on her gravestone:
“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV)
There is no greater hope than the promise of heaven.
17 Responses to ““I Know the Plans I Have For You…””
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.