Heavenly Hope


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

~John 14:27, NIV


Death can still terrify us, but the more we know about Jesus, the more death’s power fades.

~Erwin W. Lutzer

I don’t do many human interest stories because they are so hard to find but when I read this one, I knew I had to share it…

For Scott and Janet Willis, heaven {Physical death} can’t come too soon. They lost six of their nine children in one tragic accident on November 8, 1994. Scott was following a truck in the family van on the interstate when a metal brace fell from the underside of the truck and onto the road. It happened in an instant and Scott ran over the brace. He had no time to do otherwise. He hoped the metal projectile would pass safely under his van but instead it ruptured the gas tank and ignited a fire. The van was engulfed in flames instantly. Scott and Janet were in the front seats and they had to reach into flames to undo their seat belts and fall out the doors. One son was able to get out but he passed away later that day. The other five had no chance of survival. Scott’s favorite bible verse is Psalm 34:1,  I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Janet explains: “Our sorrow is great, indescribable at times, but knowing the kids are with Christ and knowing we will be reunited with them gives us the much-needed comfort we need to continue on.”

When I read this story, I thought of my sweet niece Elizabeth, her husband Paul and her son John Paul. Their sixteen year old daughter was killed in a freak automobile accident a year ago this August. How many families in America have suffered such tragic losses?

I thought of another story I heard some years ago that stuck in my mind. A couple who had suffered the loss of a child were attending a church that called a new pastor. The new pastor was a bit on the liberal side. He said several things that disturbed them. Finally, they confronted him after a service. “It sounds to us, Pastor, that you do not believe in heaven. Are we hearing you correctly or have we misunderstood?” The pastor tried to explain but he had a weak and dim view of heaven. When he finished, the man said, “Pastor, we will be looking for a new church. My wife and I cannot survive without the hope of heaven. It is the one thing that keeps us going.”

Dallas Willard, the great theologian and apologist of the 20th century, last words were to his grand daughter Larissa. He spoke to her just before going in to a high risk surgery that he did not survive, this is what he said, “Give them heaven.” This world has no fix for our problems and especially our grief, we must give them heaven.


Jonathan Seth Fagan, US Marine going to the Ukraine
  • I missed you folks at DBC but I did enjoy getting to preach twice at Mt. Zion and to see a lot of old friends. Stacey and Sammy Jo’s grand parents attend there as well as Danielle’s parents and grand parents. My old friend Mickey Wallace goes there and Tim Sibley. Of course I have know R.E. and Rickey Tappscott for 30 years or more. Shannon Furgerson’s parents, Johnny and Helen attend there also. I knew half the church.
  • Holly and Hannah are at the beach with four of our grands: Lara, Lexi, Ryder and Chloe. Joe David and Lori are leaving for Washington DC today. Seth leaves for the Ukraine on Tuesday and Hope and her two leave for the beach on Thursday. June and I will probably stick it out here at 1120 Ironman Road. We have corn coming in if the coons don’t get it first. I need to borrow a dog: Mandy will not let me use Winston Jr. I will feed it well and bring it back in two weeks.
  • Joe David is a bicentennial baby born in 1976. If you know his age you just add 200 years and you have America’s age which is 241. One of my grandparents was born in 1888. America was only 112 years old at the time.

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