What a wonderful, heartfelt, humble message from Elder Don Kinser Sunday morning. I absolutely love Doug’s sermons that preach to and teach us. He is so dedicated in his studies and research for his presentation to us. But I also love when a guest speaker comes in and just speaks from his heart. Sometimes, it’s these moments that we learn the most.
As many of you know Don and his family have been through a lot over the years; but this past year brought them the unspeakable pain through the death of their son Joshua. And through this pain, when most would question God’s existence, His love, and their faith, that Don was taught an invaluable lesson. He was gracious enough to share his experience. I pray everyone reading this takes a moment 1) to pray for the Kinser family—they still need encouragement and love from us 2) to reflect on the life lessons God has taught you in your difficult times. There is a lesson—to be able to see it, understand and appreciate it is when you truly have the relationship with Jesus that we should all long for. My prayers are for each of you through this reflection; and my continued prayers for the Kinser family.
“What God’s Teaching Me”
2 Corinthians 3:1-3: We can read and quote the Bible but the only epistle that matters is the one we have; the one in us. People see Who God is through us and our actions.
The major lessons Don learned through the loss of his son Joshua are how much God actually loves each of us; He knows what will happen and He works in it all. [We typically can’t comprehend this until we’ve been through a difficult season and come through it with God’s help. But to be able to see and feel God in the midst of the storm—when the pain is the greatest—is a treasure.]
When Josh died, it was following the biggest snow storm of the year. The next day their family got together to celebrate their daughter Laney’s birthday. As like many of our families, to get everyone together for an event is difficult (we’re all so busy anymore). But, all of the kids came together, despite travel restrictions, etc. And thanks to travel restrictions, Josh stayed whole weekend with them. “All the grace of God- God knew what was coming”—He gave them that time together; one last time as a family. There is no coincidence; there is only Providence! He gave them what they needed to get them through.
God knows what's coming and He's there to care for you through it. God knew their needs. Financially speaking, the family didn’t have the necessary funds to provide for burial expenses. [Can you imagine, not only having to bury your son, but being told that there would be no burial because you can’t afford it!?!] Within a week, everything was completely paid for. “God's in control; He knows what you need, He knows when it's needed and He provides.”
Through his personal grief, Don had one of the closest experiences he’s ever had with God—sweet time, comfort, strength and words to comfort others. Despite the insanity surrounding them—God had complete control. Don now has more reliance on God—still worries, but has more peace—knowing that at end, it'll all be okay.
The biggest lesson Don learned though, was how to be head of house. Even though he had the lessons under him (Doug’s taught this on multiple occasions), it doesn't mean as much and you don't truly learn it until God teaches you directly. One of the hardest things he has ever had to do was having to step up over his own grief and help his family get through. “God’s strength will get you through your weakest point.” Ephesians 5:22-33—when you have to actually live these verses they should actually scare the men. If you're truly the head of your house, you should be caring for and encouraging your wife—in life and in prayer—even if you’re sacrificing your own grief, pain, and time. That's what Christ did; He set aside everything for the Church—being God, His life on Earth, His desires—all for the Church! (ex.1: Matthew 14: Jesus wanted to leave when His friend John The Baptist was killed. He was emotionally, physically spiritually exhausted. He wanted to go away but the people He loved so much were still there, so He stayed to minister to them.) The husband’s wants are to get set aside and you love your wife like Christ loved the Church. (ex.2: Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46: Jesus sacrificed in Garden of Gethsemane. He didn't want to face what He was about to go through—“Father YOUR will”—He sweated blood) Husbands- put your wishes aside to the point that you sweat blood so you can minister to your family. Jesus didn't want to do it- but He still did it. So must you. 1 Corinthians 13:4-9: If you want to make sure you've got the definition of God’s love—Chapter 13—put your name where 'love' is. Where are you failing? “If you're not living in this love, you're not living as Christ did for his Church.”
God uses all things—good and bad—as a lesson for us to learn. (Romans 8:28) We’ve got to be open to hearing and seeing it. Often when we're following Him, we can see things in ourselves and others that we never would've noticed before.
God is there; God is gracious. He will provide what we need when we need it. Hang in there—and share some sweet time with Jesus.
We all have stories in our epistle to share with others to minister to them. What’s your story?
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