Joy Still Abounds…17 Years Later

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” (James 1:2)

17 years ago (Aug 30, 2003), my wife (Melissa) and our 4 precious children (Makenah [8], Zachary [5], Nicholas [3], and Alenah[ [1]) all drowned – when all 6 of us were plunged off the Kansas turnpike by a 7-foot wall of water into a deep deluge.

The last thing I considered feeling then was “great joy” (James 1:2).  This felt beyond mere “trouble.”  I experienced depths of overwhelming misery.  I was inundated by grief.  I still miss them.  Yet, by God’s sheer grace alone, I was not devastated.

Life is full of troubles, detours, delays, difficulties, and distresses.  Jesus promised, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

I have found that the key to navigating these challenging seasons – similar to this current global pandemic – is how we respond.

Have you found yourself mad at God, frustrated at changes beyond your control, and powerless to return life to “normal” – as it was before?  It’s fine to feel these emotions.  I experienced these and many others in the aftermath of my family’s deaths following the Kansas flash-flood.

The key is not to stay stuck there.  Don’t stay bitter and bent out of shape at God and others. Surrender your cares and emotions to God.  “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7)  Never deny your pain or tears, but don’t stay planted there either.

The best way to begin handling a crisis is to transfer the unbearable weight of it into God’s hands.  Let go.  Surrender.  After my family died, I had to place it all in God’s loving hands.  It was undeniably unbearable for me.

What helped me then – and what can help us all now – is to try viewing these troubles through the lens of eternity.  Ask the Lord to give you the grace of a Heavenly perspective.  As I did, I discovered these truths:

  • My trouble did not take God by surprise. God is sovereign and still in control.  “The LORD rules over the floodwaters.  The LORD reigns as King forever.” (Psalm 29:10)
  • Nothing happens to me that isn’t first filtered through God’s mighty fingers. (see Job 1:12) Somehow, God allowed this to happen for the greater good and for His greater glory. Even when we don’t understand, we can still trust His mighty hand.
  • If God permitted this global 2020 pandemic and the Kansas 2003 floodwaters, then He clearly can grant us the strength, grace, and provision to endure them. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

In light of these 3 divine realizations, I was then finally able to “consider it an opportunity for great joy.” (James 1:2)  I was joyful for my family – that they were basking in their Heavenly reward.  I was joyful for my 8 years as a father and 11 years as a husband before the flood.

I was joyful when I witnessed God using my family’s story to draw others to Christ, to heal broken hearts, and to restore families.

I was joyful that God was now using this distress to develop my faith, strengthen my endurance, and refine my character.  “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

Every challenge is an opportunity for greater spiritual growth and fruitfulness – if we allow it and if we invite God into the midst of it.  How we respond to a crisis determines the value that we – and others – receive from it.

What’s your story?  We all have one.  Whatever it is, ask God to use it for His greater glory.  Ask the good Lord to edify others through it.  Offer it up to God.  Then watch what He will do through it.

Since August 2003, God has used my great test as a mighty testimony to His power.  Many people have witnessed the goodness of God through our family’s story since then.  At least 290,000 people have personally encountered the Gospel as I’ve freely shared over 1,300 times since 2003 – all by invitation.  Although my testimony has cost me everything, I still charge NOTHING(No agent. No “fees”. Pure God.)

I received these encouraging responses after a recent Facebook Live testimony.

“God opened my heart tonight….thanks….needed to hear this testimony.”  “Robert Rogers you are absolutely amazing! …love, trust, and faith keep prevailing to a greater path.”              (Facebook posts – June 10, 2020 –sharing testimony on Sean Forrest Live)

All glory be to God.

The Mission of Mighty in the Land Ministry is to teach others to KNOW GOD personally and Live a Life a NO REGRETS.  To that end, our 3 primary goals are to:

  • Evangelize souls.
  • Heal hearts.
  • Restore families.