7 Reflections on the Passing of Friends and Family

This past Friday—Good Friday, 2018—we laid to rest my mission partners and friends, Randy and Kathy Arnett. Yesterday—Easter Sunday, 2018—Jeanette Harvey, my beloved mother-in-law, went to be with the Lord. These days have been tough days, but here’s what I’m learning again:

  1. The hope of Christianity really does make a difference. There simply must be something beyond this world, or we really are a most miserable people. Celebrating the resurrection is much, much more than something to do just because Easter shows up on the calendar.  
  2. Trusting God brings comfort. The Arnetts died in their 60s in a tragic automobile accident in Africa. My mother-in-law lived into her upper 80s, and she died of natural causes. In both cases, I can trust that God was somehow in control. I may not always understand His plan, but I can still trust Him.    
  3. Sometimes, tears must be the words of our prayers. God has an amazing way of hearing words we can’t speak in our grief. He hears our heart, and He grants us His comfort when all we can do is weep.
  4. What we do as gospel ministers truly matters. I always talk about the importance of ministry, but life-and-death situations remind me just how important our work is. What we do affects eternity.
  5. The Spirit of God is real. I know that truth intellectually. In times like these, though, I know that truth even more experientially. It’s impossible to explain the overwhelming sense of God’s presence when we need comfort.
  6. The people of God are special. Christians are hardly perfect, but there’s a unique, lasting, deeply-felt love that binds us as brothers and sisters in Christ. Christians from around the world have offered their prayers and support—and their offers are much more than simply words. 
  7. It matters how we live today. Here’s why that comes to mind today:

    • The Arnetts died doing exactly what God had called them to do. They followed Him faithfully until the second they died, and their life remains a witness to us.
    • My mother-in-law, despite declining health in her later years, loved and followed the Lord.  
    • My dear wife, Pam, loved and honored her mom like no one I’ve ever known. Even as we’ve moved around the country, Pam has always been a great daughter. She grieves today, but she can let her mom go with no regrets. That’s a model way to live.

So, live fully for God today—and thank you for your continued prayers for the Arnett and the Harvey families. 



  • Josh Feltner says:

    You, Pam, and the rest of your family are in our prayers brother. And we continue to bring the Arnett family before God’s throne of grace as we plead for His comfort to be given in these moments of hurt and confusion.

  • Mike Massey says:

    Sorry to hear about the heartbreak you guys are going through. Our family dog of 12 years suffered for many hours before we could get him to vet on Monday morning (last week on the 26th) to be put down. Not a person but part of the family & hardest thing we as a family had to deal with as it is the first death in the family for our kids. I focused Easter’s message on how the Resurrection helps with our sorrow – in fact, one of first things Jesus does after rising is to comfort a weeping Mary!

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