This is where I was the night my Dad died.

My family and I are in Springfield, Missouri right now.

We have lived in this city for a couple different seasons of our lives, always for higher education.

As I drive around the city, several stories come to mind.

Restaurants, stores, even street intersections are nostalgic to me.

But this spot is the most significant one: Evangel University’s Krause Hall Parking Lot.

You see, this is the spot where I sat and cried for the first time after learning about the death of my father.

What started as a normal day at work ended tragically as he didn’t make it home that night.

My Dad went from being present in the lives of those he pastored, led, and loved to being gone.

After getting the phone call from my Mom, a buddy drove me to this spot so I could meet up with more friends.

On the worst night of my life, I wasn’t alone.

I got up from that spot forever changed.

My humor got darker. My dreams for the future diminished. And all I had was one question: “Now what?”

What would come of my widowed mother, disabled brother, and hopeless self?

Eight years later, I can tell you exactly now what.

My family and I have joyful hope, new dreams, and profound peace.

Why? We’ve experienced what Jesus talks about in John’s Gospel.

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (10:10)

By walking with Christ, we can experience salvation & healing for this life & the next.

That’s why I can go to this spot today and smile.

It represents a place of origin for the man I am now and becoming.

Someone who helps others heal because I’ve experienced healing.

A storyteller who helps you live a great story by finding your place in God’s story.

Do I still make dead Dad jokes?

Spend a day with me and I’m sure at least one will leave my lips.

But it’s no longer from a place of cynicism.

Rather, it’s laughing at the face of death saying “You can’t hurt me, because my God has conquered the grave.”