“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” // Proverbs 3:5-6
The beginning of my junior year of high school was pretty rough. A few weeks before school started, a senior who had recently graduated got into a bad car crash and passed away suddenly. I did not know him well but his brother who has special needs was in my grade and involved in the Connections program (the inclusive education program at my high school) and I was his peer tutor the previous year so we had become pretty close. Because of his special needs, Phillip did not really understand what was going on. The typically crazy, smiley, prankster who loved John Deere tractors that I always knew was not the boy who showed up to school every morning. I think Phillip understood that his brother, Luke, wasn’t around but I don’t think he fully realized he would never take another ride on his big green John Deere tractor with his older brother until they were together again in Heaven. In the weeks that followed Luke’s funeral, reality slowly began to set in for Phillip. And then to add to his grief, Phillip’s favorite teacher from our school, Ms. Turner, lost her battle with breast cancer. I didn’t know how to handle all this loss myself, let alone help Phillip through it.
On the day of Ms. Turner’s funeral, our whole school had a special chapel service in remembrance of Ms. Turner and Phillip’s brother, Luke. Many faculty members and students spoke at this chapel service, recounting stories of when Luke pulled off the ultimate senior prank or when Ms. Turner helped them through their own tough times. It was pretty ironic - the two people many of the student body would’ve turned to in times such as these would’ve been Ms. Turner and Luke. I gave Phillip his space that day, but when I caught up with him a few days later, he mumbled something that I will never forget. Between sniffles and tears, he uttered the words, “I don’t know, but I know.” I didn’t understand what he meant so I asked him, “Phillip, what does that mean?” He replied, “Luke is gone. I don’t get why this would happen to me and my family, but I get why God wanted Luke with Him. Luke’s the best.” And in that moment, I knew Phillip would teach me far more than I could ever teach him in our peer tutoring sessions.
I don’t know, but I know. What a powerful statement. Phillip’s faith in this situation was so inspiring and motivated me to put my complete trust in Him. This phrase has become a motto for my life in many aspects. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in five, ten, or even fifteen years, but I do know that God will be guiding my every step as long as I put my trust in Him. Phillip’s statement may have been a bit confusing at first but isn’t that how life is too? We don’t fully understand what our Creator is doing at times, but if we lean on him, He’ll lead us exactly where we need to be.
Jenna // @jennavanderlaan