A Journey to be Shared

Welcome to Finding Out His Greatness.

I’d like to take a quick minute to introduce you to this blog and share a little bit about the purpose and vision behind it. Chances are, since you’re here reading, you or someone you know has heard at least some of the story of what God has been doing in my family over the last 10 months. Here’s the short version of what’s been happening – in case you’re not already aware.

On November 19th of 2011, after only 2 weeks of strong headaches, doctors in the emergency department at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton discovered a 3.5-inch wide tumor in my wife Heather’s brain. Within a few days, and after a major surgery, she was diagnosed with stage IV Glioblastoma Multiforme – brain cancer. Life was abundant, filled with the joy of two young boys aged 2 and 7 months old, and a wonderful, vibrant young church in which we were serving full time. But suddenly we found ourselves walking down a pathway that meant facing the most unexpected movement of God’s sovereign hand imaginable. In short, life was drastically altered overnight, and we didn’t see it coming. All of our training for full-time pastoral ministry together, all of our knowledge about truth, scripture, and God Himself were to be put to the test. After two additional surgeries and a growing realization that the aggression and speed of her cancer were far higher than the average, we became increasingly aware of what God’s will was for the outcome of our journey together as a couple. After the privilege of having weeks in which to say our goodbyes to one another in many different ways, on March 6, Heather took her last breath of this life and stepped into the immediate presence of her Saviour.

A journey of tears. A journey of joys. A journey of deep, intense heartache that defies description. But also, a journey of deep growth in dependence on Christ and the grace that is found in His hand. A journey that could best be described as a journey of finding out His greatness.

And that brings us to the purpose for this blog…

I vividly remember a favorite holiday of mine. Heather was several months pregnant with our first son, and we knew that romantic couple time together would soon be harder to find. We rented a cabin in British Columbia overlooking a valley where the mighty Fraser River wound past, working its way towards the Pacific. And at the end of this short valley stood Mt. Robson (Canada’s highest peak) with its huge, towering cliff faces down the north and west sides (see the picture from our cabin’s front porch above). I’ve always been an outdoor adventurer at heart and can’t resist a great hike. I was hoping to be able to do a bit of hiking during an afternoon sometime that week while Heather was resting. But I was disappointed to find out that the trail leading to the best views of Mt. Robson (where 3 different glaciers split off the mountain’s ice and flow down over steep cliffs into an icy lake) was 21km long (13 miles) one way! Obviously, an afternoon stroll was out of the question. So, out of necessity, I chose to be content with the view from the visitor center parking lot. Looking around the small lot I saw hikers just returning from their several-day-long excursion up to the small mountain lake. I had seen photos of this view online (like the one below), but I knew that the views the photographers had experienced in person could not be matched by a computer screen – not even Apple’s new Retina Display! The hikers that day looked tired, but satisfied and invigorated. Their faces seemed to reflect a small bit of the wonder they had seen on their journeys. And I wished there was some good way for them to share that experience with me.

Sometimes – as a result of God’s designs – you can only imagine what the view looks like from another person’s vantage point. I can’t tell you why He does it, but God chooses certain individuals to experience differing views of the majestic vista of His greatness. And He chooses very different ways to bring them to the places where they can see those views – and its not always a quick easy hike.

After all that I have been through – steep climbs, falls, heavy loads, scrapes, bruises, chilling ice, biting winds, slippery steps, cliff-hugging trails, and muscle aches, I can truly say the view was worth it! Just like there was no effective way for those returning hikers to give me the full experience of what they had seen, I don’t expect that I will be able to adequately communicate the full scope of what I’ve seen. But I feel compelled to try. And if I can in some small way lift your impression of this mighty, majestic mountain that is God’s greatness, then my goal is reached.

I’ve been encouraged by a couple of folks to write a book and share what I’ve learned, relate it to the truth of the gospel, and encourage others through it. But there are several factors that have led me to the conclusion that the blog format will be a far more effective medium for my goals. First, Im am now learning the ropes of single-dad-hood, and these two precious sons of mine need a closeness with their dad right now that a book writing project would not allow for. Second, I am not sure I’m ready for the weight, the challenge, and the load of such a large project both emotionally and spiritually.  Third, I am still walking the journey. A book lends itself far better to a more formal “looking back on a finished process” format, whereas a blog allows for the far more informal and desired “come along for the journey” format.

So, stay tuned. And if God blesses as I am hoping He will, His Spirit will use these thoughts and observations over the next months and years to strengthen you and get you more excited about finding out His greatness. Come along for the journey – its worth sharing.

“…so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe, as displayed in the exercise of his immense strength.” (Eph. 1:18-19, NET)

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About Kevin Burrill

A Christian, a pastor, a widower, a husband, a father, a thinker, a worshipper, and a teacher - simply seeking to know my God more and more along the journey, and hoping that what I'm learning will impact others as I'm finding out His greatness. View all posts by Kevin Burrill

7 responses to “A Journey to be Shared

  • Gord Clausen

    Kevin, so glad I found this blog. Looking forward to you sharing your thoughts. Thank you for keeping us all informed; 1st through Facebook and now this blog.

  • jmrombach5

    I am very excited to come along on this journey. Thank you for your transparency through some very hard times. I continue to pray for you and the boys.

  • mosesdj

    I pray for this to be the catalyst that starts a whole new journey for you and the boys. Thank you for sharing this. It has blessed me as I pray for others to also be blessed. HE is with you always.

  • Joyce

    Thanks for sharing, Kevin. You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Charles

    My wife of 43 years has been battling cancer for three years, so I have some idea of your struggles. My prayers for God’s great grace, mercy and peace for you and your precious children.

  • Ami

    Just wanted to say thank you for liking my blog post. It encouraged me to stop over and see what you write about. I checked out your blog and found the journey of someone else who knows the depth of losing a spouse yet also the true comfort of the gospel! I think any time God brings someone else across my path who knows grief, it makes me take notice. I am still very much in the roller coaster. But God is carrying me. I’m encouraged by your words! Thank you.

    • pastorkb

      Thanks Ami. God has been teaching me how proportional His grace is to our need for it. Keep sharing as God teaches and challenges you. It’s one of the ways He glorifies Himself through us in our trials.

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