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Pastor column: Choose what to do with pain

Ten years ago on June 3, my 18-year-old daughter, Makenzie, was killed in a car accident in the Houston area. Shortly afterward, some friends of hers put up a small cross at the intersection of the crash. Over the years, my mom has been going to refresh the plastic flowers and keep the area looking nice as hundreds of people a day drive by that little purpose cross.

This past week, I was visiting my parents in Houston (we had moved away shortly after the accident) and we decided it was time for new flowers. As we drove, we wondered if anyone still remembered Makenzie or if they knew why the cross was there. We were considering pulling the cross since it had been 10 years.

Todd StockerGod had other plans.

When we arrived, we pulled the old ones and put in new ones to make it look nice for the 10th anniversary of Makenzie's "Home-going."

As we were heading back to our car, a woman approached us. She said that she and her husband were coming home from church that same night 10 years ago, saw the accident scene and were diverted to other side streets as the investigators examined my daughter's body and the wreckage of the three cars involved.

After learning it was a fatality (my daughter), their family prayed for us every time they passed the intersection over the years. She also prayed that someday, she'd be able to meet the family whose little girls' cross stands on the corner by which they pass.

Fast forward to 2016, and her son passed away at the age of 36. Her first thought was of our family. She thought, "If they can get through it, so can we." She shared with us what a blessing we were, even though she had no idea what our names were or anything about us.

Here's my point. Pain always has a purpose if we choose to respond positively to it.

The Bible says that we receive comfort for our pain from Jesus so that we can help others (2 Corinthians 1:4). That is a fundamental purpose of the difficult times which we encounter. Our family chose not just to survive, but to thrive in and through our the pain of the loss of my daughter. As a result, God has allowed my wife, Kellie and I the opportunity to speak to many individuals and gatherings—large and small.

Anyway, it was a beautiful "holy" moment, and my mom and I drove away in tears. If you'd like to read Makenzie's story, go to