Jesus said He came that we may have life, and that we may have it more abundantly (see John 10:10). But what happens when life throws us lemons instead of peaches? While being a follow of Christ is never a ticket into ease, I do know, even have experienced, something greater – that even in the most horrible circumstances, my Lord’s own life can and will combat it, even equip me to overcome it! Almost eleven years ago, a terrible tragedy took place in my family. I didn’t believe that my brother would die because we had prayed for a miracle. With every day that passed, he got closer to death, but even then my heart pressed on to believe that one day he’d get up from his wheelchair completely healed. But he didn’t. Matthew stopped breathing on August 31st, 2005. It was a shock to me, something that I was too young to understand. While it wasn’t until I was older that the grief hit harder, I couldn’t deny that on the day of his passing, the life that I had always known and loved had died with him, too. Growing up, my relationship with Matthew had not only consumed a great part of my life, but my heart. Since we were close in age, we spent a lot of time together. We were “best buddies” as we called each other. But when we were removed from our home (he to a hospital and I to a group home), life obviously took a drastic, unexpected twist. When I was returned home, Matthew was suffering with severe side effects from the medication. Yet even when he became bedridden, I believed for a miracle. On the day of his death I sat down to read Matthew a joke book, trying to bring some joy back amidst our circumstances. I succeeded. Though he was having a difficult time breathing, Matthew would softly chuckle at almost every joke, sometimes laughing aloud. I stared at his now radiant countenance with hope, convinced things would really turn around for the better because of it. Even upon my leaving (he’d requested to sleep), I looked back to see his face still smiling slightly. I left his room content. But a half an hour later, Matthew had slipped into heaven. While I’ve heard it said that “time heals all wounds,” the pain I had only seemed to grow worse with it. Augusts were especially dreadful as my mind would be on a continuous replay of the day when he left us. While my mother always encouraged me to turn to Christ as she had raised me to, I wouldn’t – the grief I bore had taken an ugly turn on me, and I became very bitter and angry which hardened my heart to Him. I allowed the past to dictate every part of my life, totally denying the One who held true. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was empty, so I searched for ways to fill myself, such as the things of the world. It never satisfied me – I was only moved to greater despair in heart. Thinking I’d never be able to move on from the pain of losing him, I concluded that the only possible way to freedom was death itself… But if there is one thing to be amazed at (and there is), it is Jesus. He came after me and He revealed the Truth, what life really is, and that is Himself. Everything transformed for me as He became the centerpiece of my existence. Everything about who I was, how and what I had felt suddenly fled, because it then became all about who He was and what He did. I overcame my heartache and grief because He redeemed my soul and filled me with overwhelming joy and unexplainable peace! Jesus so lovingly took over my heart, covering its void with His presence, inviting me into the most delightful relationship with Him. I then found myself totally healed from pain. He had literally brought me back to life and when the following August came around, I discovered that I had been set free.