This week’s post is in memory of my sister Marne’s father in law, Benjamin Dharmaraj who went home to be with the Lord on May 5th, 2017. Benjamin was first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ and if you’ve met him or his family, you’d likely know that this verse very much applies to them:
But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15b)
Benjamin was a devoted husband; having faithfully, lovingly and intentionally kept his marriage vows until the very end. He was a father, a grandfather, a best friend, and much more.
I did not know Benjamin well but I have some glimpse into his impact on his family and my family. He raised a son Ajit, who would become my brother in law; a perfect match for my sister, and that has been evident since the two fell in love many years ago.
Benjamin’s wife Renuka shared with me that the two of them were born and raised in Christian families, however she said it wasn’t until the late 1990s that “God got a hold of them”.
They were attending a non-denominational church, learning and growing and then decided to be baptized out of obedience to the scriptures. Renuka shared this is when they really started growing in their faith; she also shared her belief that praying for others and others praying for them made a significant impact.
Meditating on Romans chapter 9 this week and thinking about the rich heritage in the Benjamin family, the theme of this verse kept hitting me:
What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. (Romans 9:30-31)
Any of us who pursue the law or traditions out of the sake of tradition can miss the righteousness, the gift, and the joy of knowing Jesus through faith.
Benjamin’s family has a rich tradition, a legacy, but their deep rooted faith was evident this week. With the mourning of the earthly loss, there has been joy and acknowledgment that Jesus is King, and through his death on the cross, there is hope and promise of an afterlife with our Father God in Heaven.
Our prayers continue for the family of Benjamin.
The remainder of today’s post was written by my sister Marne as a reflection in her time of grief.
Grieving is like an invisible wind whose predictability blows neither here nor there. One never knows when it is coming or how powerful its strength will be. A certain fragrance or a sound of laughter, an unrelated event or a gesture of a stranger can suddenly ignite grief’s presence into such force that it tosses the victim into the eye of a storm and dangerously lands them in the unknown to pick up the shattered debris.
Grief has an element of creativity. It is often brought on spontaneously and is unstructured. It colors one’s life like a canvas of unexpected shadows, designs, paths of light or jagged lines. It seems like a mistake, or even a highly dangerous medium to explore, and yet it has an intriguing beauty at it’s very core.
For in our despair, we are not left without hope. In our emptiness, we are not left alone to sort through the brokenness. In our doubt, He is still trustworthy. In our pain, we are never without His love. Jesus has never abandoned us in any circumstance, in the past, present or whatever is to come. Because of His rich love for us, we look ahead with confident expectation of His goodness, mercy and loving kindness.
We look forward to His creativity and how He masterfully designs everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. (2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT)
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)