Skip to main content

A Testimony with Scripture

Good morning.

My name is Darren Brouwer, a professor of chemistry here at Redeemer.

I’m going to a share a scripture passage with you this morning and a short reflection on wonder.

This passage from Jeremiah was the focus of the sermon at our church this past Sunday and I have been reflecting on it very much this week. I’d like to share a few of my thoughts with you.

In this passage, Jeremiah is writing a letter to the people of God who have been taken into exile in Babylon

[read passage – parts of Jeremiah 29:4-7,11 on powerpoint]
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says to all those I carried into exile… “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters…  Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you…” “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

So, what does this passage to do with wonder?

[next slide – definition of wonder] One of the definitions of “wonder” is to feel doubt; to question. “I wonder whether or not everything is going to be OK?”

About 6 and half years ago, prior to coming here to Redeemer, something tragic happened in my life that seemed like some sort of “exile”. My wife Paula and our then 10-month old son Micah were driving to visit her parents and were struck from behind by a dump truck. Paula sustained a severe brain injury and died the next day. Micah, miraculously, survived virtually unscathed.

I have never wondered – in the doubting, questioning sense – so much in my life after Paula died. I wondered and wrestled with questions about Why did this happen? Where was God? How could He let this happen? I have never been able to come to fully satisfactory answers to my questions, my doubts, my wondering. To this day, I continue to wonder, to doubt, to live with these unanswered questions.

[next slide, Jeremiah passage back up]
But, in this place of exile I found myself after Paula died, I had to figure out how to rebuild a life. The past 6 and a half years since she died have been a long, long journey. I moved to Hamilton, bought a house (sometimes it feels like we’re building it since its so old), and settled down here. I planted a garden and we eat from it. I met a wonderful woman named Jessica and we married. She adopted Micah. We have been blessed with another son Joel and very recently with a daughter, Kate.

This brings me to a second definition of wonder [next slide – second definition of wonder]: to be filled with admiration, amazement, awe; to marvel.

Right now, the wonder I am experiencing now all has to do with our new baby daughter [next slide – picture of Kate]. She was born on October 11 (less than two weeks ago). I am filled with amazement, awe, and wonder at this beautiful girl that God has given us. [next slide – photo of baby Kate]

Even though I continue to wonder – in the questioning, doubting sense – how God could allow my first wife Paula to die at such a young age, I am thankful for the amazement type of wonder I get to feel about the new life he is building for me and my family.

Looking back over the past 6 and half years of my life, alongside my doubting and questioning wonder has been a thankful wonder about how God has somehow been with me through this difficult road.

[next slide – Jeremiah passage again]

Jeremiah’s letter to those in exile closes with a promise “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

God has given me a hope and a future again, and for that I am wonderfully thankful.

Thank you for letting me share this with you this morning.