#81 How Do You Reconcile the Death of a Child With Faith – Pastor Erik Rees
- March 3, 2011, Jessie Rees (age 11) was diagnosed with an incurable form of Brain Cancer. She moved to heaven on Jan 5, 2012 and Erik knows that through Jesus he will see her again. Erik has to invest in his family everyday, there is no rewind button. This is his testimony.“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” – Ephesians 2:10
- Biggest Weakness – Selfishness. We all fight it, but this hit him hard after Jessie was diagnosed. Erik had taken his family for granted.
- Biggest Strength – Faith in God. It’s what got him through the death of his daughter. Erik yelled and screamed at God, but has held on to the promise of heaven.
- Dark Time – Grew up in an abusive family with an abusive father, but although the time with Jessie was very dark, she was the silver light. Every dad wants to save their child and when you can’t the only option is to trust.
- Jessie asked the question “when do the other kids go home?” After hearing the answer she asked, “How can we help them?” This changed everything.
- She created bags for the kids who couldn’t leave the hospital. Jessie’s middle name was Joy and so they came up with Joy Jars. Erik and Jess did this in the garage and then would bring them up to the hospital on her next visit. During Jessie’s 10 month 2 day fight she sent over 3,000 Joy Jars to children with the message of NEGU (Never Ever Give Up).
- To donate go to jessie.org
- Erik uses Jessie’s NEGU motto to get through every day. He spends a lot of time pastoring to families of children with cancer.
- Our faith does not tell us to sit on the sidelines, so Erik focuses on creating smiles.
- Erik had prayed and screamed and begged God to help his daughter. When she wasn’t, he took the only choice he had which was to believe in God, his family and to not be bitter for their sake. God had answered the prayer that Jessie wouldn’t suffer.
- After Jessie went to heaven, Erik’s wife went through severe depression and despair. It took them a year to a year and a half to get through the initial grief.
- Jessie’s mom is now heavily involved in the foundation.
- Great Advice: Find people to be your anchors, who know you as well as God does and be real with them. Get help.
- God’s Man of Influence – Allow God to work through you to do good in the world.
- Recommended Book: “Living the Life You’re Meant To Live” by Tom Patterson
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