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Reconciling What We Feel and What We Know

My Blackberry began to buzz at 5:03am.  Derek Loux was in a car accident somewhere in Nebraska.  Would we pray? After a number of back and forth text messages, at 7:42am I got the message that has sat in my gut like a rock for the past eight hours:  “He’s gone.”

Derek leaves a beautiful wife, Renee, and ten children, two biological daughters, five girls adopted from the Marshall Islands, and three sons adopted from the Ukraine.   They are quite possibly the most beautiful assembly of human beings I have ever seen.

Derek was a powerful musician, singer and songwriter…but it was his message of adoption that rocked most of us to our core – and then he had the audacity to live out his own message right on front of us, daring us to do the same.

Our community is reeling from this loss.  While we yearn to be strong for Renee and the kids, inwardly we ache with the realization that Derek is no longer with us.  Every human life is valuable…but who Derek was and what he was doing in the realm of rescue and adoption of the most disadvantaged made him shine like a star.  He had a winsome way of making a crowd laugh one moment and cringe the next.  His words might strike a chord of conviction, but his spirit always left you wanting to hear more.

Mid morning, I got another text from someone who was trying to process the whole sovereignty issue i light of losing Derek.   “Randy – does Satan steal peoples’ lives or does God let them go?” they asked.  This led to a few more text messages and finally a phone call, where we processed together how we felt about proclaiming God to be all knowing and all powerful in a world where such things happen.

There is a haunting verse found in Psalm 116 that always comes to mind in times like this.  “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints…”. How can something so terribly wrong, so terribly painful, be precious in the sight of the Lord?  I think it has something to do with perspective – one that He has and yet does not expect us to easily embrace.

In the light of Derek’s true life expectancy – eternity – his time here on earth would always be negligible, whether forty years or a hundred and four.   Place those time periods on the line of eternity and they’re almost impossible to find.   Derek existed in God’s master plan before he walked the earth, before he played his first chord, before he preached his first sermon.  Derek has passed on, but only from earth.  Humans are immortal beings – only the body dies.    In light of the fact that Derek will live forever, does the end point of his earthly internship, be it at forty, fifty or ninety, really make a lot of difference?  In a sense no…but of course it does.

It matters to us that Derek’s wife is now facing life as a young widow.  It matters to us that those children will forever divide time into the years with Daddy and without.  It matters to us that Derek will not walk those beautiful girls down the aisle or toss another football to those boys.  It matters to us….and it matters to God. Even though His eternal perspective allows Him to see the whole and real of Derek’s life, He feels the hurt in our hearts and the hearts of the family.

Some have said “This is an injustice….”.  Others have tried hard to stick to the company line, saying “God is sovereign.  His leadership is perfect.”    This is one of those times when I think the most theologically correct thing to say would be “This really stinks.”

It does stink…but it does not define us.

We all yearn to say “Jesus, your leadership is perfect.” When things stink as badly as this does, we hope to be able to say the right things that give Him glory, even in our pain…but if you’re not there yet, I think God fully understands.

The words I long to hear from my children are often the simplest.   “Yes, Dad.”  In those words, I hear “We trust you.”  I don’t necessarily hear “We like it, Dad!” or “Great call, Pop!”.  When I ask if they want ice cream and they say “Yes, Dad!” it’s a far different thing than when I call them in from playing football to clean their rooms.  In those moments,  when they don’t want to submit yet find a “Yes, Dad” in their hearts, I know that they are living in right relationship with me.

The ultimate test of our acknowledgement of Jesus’ perfect leadership is not when things go well.  It is when things go wrong….and yet God loves us so much that our test will not take place today.  He’s giving us a moment.  A moment to grieve, to wonder, and to vent if we have to.

He knows that only through the pain and wondering can we come to a place to truly call His leadership perfect.

For more information on the project so dear to Derek’s heart, go to The Josiah Fund.


56 Responses

  1. thank you~

  2. thank you. this speaks volumes.

  3. That’s good in a lot of situations. Thanks for writing your thoughts. Our prayers are with the IHOP family & the Loux’s family especially.

  4. thank you randy!!!! i had no words – only tears – and you gave me some – thank you.

  5. “He knows that only through the pain and wondering can we come to a place to truly call His leadership perfect.” Thank you for these words. I didn’t know Derek personally. I am so sorry for his family and IHOP family. I believe that the heart of this post applies to grief in general. I know that it struck a chord with my heart. For the last 3 years I’ve been battling ovarian and uterian cancer. Last year, around this time, I had to have a total hysterctomy. I was 34, unmarried with no children. This year has been the toughest so far, in that the uterian cancer moved to my spine, via my bloodstream, and I had to do radiation and chemo this summer. Needless to say my hormones are a bit wacked out and at times I am on an emotional rollercoaster. I am in remission and am extremely grateful to the Lord for that but I have found that this December I have been grieving over the loss of not being able to have children. I find myself overwhelmed at times and all I can do is weep. I am so glad that God is big enough to handle my weeping, venting, grief and out right anger. I love my relationship with Him and how He allows me to learn more about Him, specifically through the pain. He is a master of taking my painful situations and using them to glorify Himself. Your post helped me to verbalize what has been locked up in my heart and only could be expressed through tears. Thank u!

  6. Wow – thank you for sharing this brother! We have been rocked here in our house at hearing this news and we don’t even know them well. We are praying for and thinking of his family and you all there!

  7. Well said, Randy. I can’t think of a man more needed on earth. So many people looking to him and leaning on him for leadership. Not just his children and precious Renne but an entire movement. He had so much to contribute. There are so many dead beat dad’s out there who contribute nothing but grief and yet Deryk is the one gone. I trust and I adore our Lord but I do not understand at times and this is one of those times.


  8. Thank you friend.

  9. I only “knew” the Louxs from your constant stories about their awesome family – I am so very sad to hear of his accident. I will pray for your family and friends, and of course for Derek’s family. Wow.

  10. […] friend Randy Bohlender shares these reflections on the loss of his friend – reconciling what we feel and know.  Also, his sister-in-law Tracie Loux posted this statement from the IHOP Leadership Team on her […]

  11. Hey Randy,
    What a great and wise post about the Loux family and God’s view of eternity. Derek was a friend of ours, the entire Loux family are our dear friends. My wife grew up in the same church in Philly with Derek’s Dad.
    What a blow, but I’m sure God has already raised up those that will take the baton and run for the Kingdom.

  12. My condolences on the loss of your friend.

  13. Thank you Randy for putting words to the inner struggle so many of us have felt today. “This stinks.”

    I too have been wrestling with the question of whether Satan won a battle (but not the war) or Derek simply crossed the finish line in a race well run. I don’t think we’ll know that answer this side of heaven.

    Either way:

    * I know that God is good.

    * I know that God used Derek in an amazing way in my life and so many others. I am grateful to have called him friend.

    * I also know that Derek was (and is) above all else a worshipper of the LORD. And he is beholding the beauty of the King and worshipping him in person right now.

    Blessings & Peace

  14. So sorry for your and the Louxs loss, Randy. It does stink. God is still a good Papa.

  15. Thank you Randy. This means more than you can know to me. We love you so much.

  16. it properly doesn’t really matter what i think, but since i was in my early twenties, i have wanted to adopt, after being in 20 different countries and spending eight years as a psych nurse working with children and adolescent patients, i see the importance of adoption, both for the orphans and for unwed young mothers, and now i work with a disable child…….to me this man is a real hero…..

    there was more to him than wanting to be “priestly”, he is the image of what i believe jesus IS, understanding drawing away from the multitudes to be with the Lord and minister to the Lord, BUT understanding the COMPASSION JESUS had on the crowds (matthew 14)

    i don’t call very many people “hero” but his man was and IS an example to us ALL!!!

  17. […] Read the rest of Randy’s powerful post here. […]

  18. Thanks Randy. I am really having a hard time. It’s all I can think about and I’m not sure I am “there” yet myself. I guess it just hurts so much. I love what you said about 40 years or 90 years, so good, so good…..

  19. Thanks you so much… I’ve been struggling through this all day… this is really helpful…

  20. thank you from the bottom of my heart… I really needed to hear this perspective… and be released to grieve the loss of a father in our community.

    He will always be an inspiration to us all.

  21. […] friend, Randy Bohlender, writes movingly of his […]

  22. Thank you Randy. Well said. Derek loved much. He could walk into a room and change the whole atmosphere. He brought joy and an incredible energy with his zeal for life. His sense of humor could make you forget your difficulties and rejoice in the simple things. We will miss him terribly. He loved MUCH! And we love him. Heaven in a richer place.

  23. Thanks Randy – that was really good. This is a very sad time – our thoughts and prayers are with you guys and the family in KC.

  24. Beautifully said….

  25. Thank you for posting this Randy. I am still praying for the family and my friends that were close. I think I can say that His leadership is perfect only because I wasn’t close but for those that can’t I can understand because I don’t know if I could say it if someone really close to me passed. Well, then again my inward coping mechanism is denial. I just assume that it didn’t really happen and I just haven’t seen them in a while…. LOVE and PRAYERS.

  26. Thank you, Randy, for helping us process this. As much as Satan came to steal and destroy, he had to get God’s permission. And the only way he could get permission is because there MUST be something good coming out of this. As hard as it is to imagine. May his life provoke us and change us and let his vision to help the orphans and widows multiply exponentially. Let us never be the same.

  27. thank you. my heart is angry. i hate this. but this really helped. thank you for your honesty and stability.
    you’re a blessing.

  28. […] By katrinastyles First and foremost, I would like to point anyone reading this to Randy’s blog entry about Derek Loux.  Lately I’ve found that whenever I have something to say he has not only […]

  29. Wow. I got to meet Derek and the family, and heard him teach and worship with his team. Such a loving family, so hospitable and inviting. What a man of God, what an example. He belongs to Jesus, he will always be a worshiper.

  30. Thank you, Randy.

  31. “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart;
    devout men are taken away,
    and no one understands
    that the righteous are taken away
    to be spared from evil.
    Those who walk uprightly
    enter into peace;
    they find rest as they lie in death.”
    Isaiah 57:1-2

  32. Thank you for this. This will help many walking through the loss of this man as well as those that have had to grapple with this from personal loss in the past.

    Well said, and your timing is perfect.


  34. Well felt Randy…thanks for words that move. Hearts in Cincinnati are so very tender today.

  35. When we got a text to pray Wednesday am what came to me were lines from Derek’s song titled Just Want to Be Your Friend (I think) and the scripture: “Enoch walked with God and was not because God took him.” (Gen 5:24) I started praying, “No Lord, could this just be a time where Derek has time to be with you as he recovers?” But the context of that scripture was chilling. Meanwhile my husband was across the room softly saying, “Lazarus come forth,” over and over.

    I think Satan’s forces wanted to destroy this precious life, but the flip side is that Jesus was there to receive him into the everlasting arms of love.

    My heart aches for the precious Loux family and the IHOP family. It was gut wrenching to watch Nathan Panke’s set yesterday with John Loux hauntingly gone from his guitar.

  36. This morning I awoke with these thoughts on my heart. They are deeply personal, but I feel they are connected to Derek’s passing and that I am to share them.

    On Sunday afternoon, I was sharing in conversation with a family who lost their son to cancer last year. Wherever two or more are gathered in His Name, He’s in the midst. So, it was no surprise that the issue of the things to come and martyrdom found its way into our conversation. As this precious couple shared with us, I knew it was the Holy Spirit giving them utterance. As some of the hard things were spoken, I could feel these words being set aside in a different place in my brain to be processed alone before the Lord at a more appropriate time. The bottom line of the conversation was that each one of us belongs to God, and to God alone.

    The seriousness of the conversation left heaviness on my heart. That night I lay down to sleep, and within minutes got back up crying out to the Lord for help, for mercy, for grace, for understanding. In the midst of this travail, I asked the Lord to come and settle the issue of death in my heart so that I would not fear, not be hindered by offense and be free to love Him completely. I thank God for the IHOP leadership and community’s obedience to preach and teach the whole gospel including the reality of suffering and martyrdom as part of what will take place before the Lord’s return. I know God has and is using this to prepare each one of His own, because He is faithful. But as I cried out to the Lord well past 2am, I knew He must come and do a work in my heart that ultimately only He can do regarding death.

    On Tuesday morning when I received the text message about Derek Loux’s passing, it occurred to me almost immediately that the Lord wanted me to pay close attention to what He would do and say as part of His response to my cry for Him to settle the issue of death in my own heart.

    I did not know Derek personally, and even so, he and his family have touched my life. I will never forget him and Renee ministering at one of the Mom’s gatherings. I was in great anguish over the struggles one of my son’s was going through, but felt like no one on the ground was hearing my cry for help. They listened w/ such compassion, and then gave me so much hope when they invited me to contact them to find help for him. I will always remember Derek praying for me, and his unforgettable message on the Heart of the Father. Every time I saw him with his children, he was for me a living picture of our Abba with us!

    Derek’s passing is ministering a deep work in my heart about who I say that He is, what I believe about Him, and who I truly know Him to be. His passing is inviting and provoking me to say “God, settle the issue.”

    My heart and prayers are with the Loux family in this unimaginable time. I love you and thank God for you. Thank you for laying down your lives to show the love of God to so many.

  37. thank you so much for this blog… it is a very well-written way to align the chaos that goes through one’s mind and to settle into the realization that we live in this life limited in understanding. This does stink; of all people… why this one… but again, i suppose we will never understand somethings in this life.

  38. Thank you Derek for seeing and encouraging my gift of song so hidden in the rough. You had such genuineness and warmth in your encouragement. I don’t understand this at all. God Bless your family and your own Homecoming. I know that God and IHOP will raise them up.

  39. As one who lost our first son on Christmas Eve some years back, I am thankful for the continual reminder of the closeness of heaven and earth. Our lives on both sides of this momentary separation are intertwined as we prepare for the coming of our Lord. Nothinig is lost and we all draw closer together as we honor Derek who we love so much! He is hero to us and to heaven.

  40. Randy thank you

  41. […] Reconciling What We Feel and What We Know Reconciling What We Feel and What We Know […]

  42. Thank you for posting this. As the mother of a son whose dad refused to even acknowledge that he existed except in court to terminate his parental rights, it hurts my heart to see him gone. I didn’t know the family personally but their ministry has touched my life in many ways since coming to IHOP. I pray God would comfort the family during this time and raise up many like him to father the world’s orphans.

  43. […] Reconciling What We Feel and What We Know My Blackberry began to buzz at 5:03am.  Derek Loux was in a car accident somewhere in Nebraska.  Would we pray? After […] […]

  44. […] of which were adopted [some with special needs]). I ran across a blog post by Randy Bohlender (https://randybohlender.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/reconciling-what-we-feel-and-what-we-know/). He is a friend of the family and wrote just an awesome post regarding making sense of […]

  45. I cried the whole time I read this out loud to my family! This needs to be shared with the whole IHOP-KC family!

    Thanks for writting it!

  46. No doubt these words were spoken in Heaven on Dec 23rd. . . . .Well Done good and faithful servant. . . .enter into the glory of your Father. . . . .I think the devil was afraid Derek was gonna change the whole world and just couldn’t take it any more. . . . Satan may have won this tiny battle, but we KNOW WHO WON THE WAR. . . . thank you God for Derek and time we had with Your precious servant. Help ME be more like him.

  47. I can’t express the shock and utter disbelief when I read this on my mom’s facebook. And definitely agree Randy. I had the chance to watch his daugthers grow up from a distance during his ministry E 91st Christian Church in Indianapolis. But more personally, Derek has helped my mom in shaping her faith and even being the one to re-baptize her. His faith was one that was purely contagious and absolutely a joy to watch him lead worship. I’m going to miss him deeply but will always remember how he affected my family. Love you Derek, and I miss you. Can’t wait to see you when we all live in perfect fellowship with God. Thanks God for the victory of the cross and the resurrection!!

  48. Thanks for writing Randy. The Raws family (and extended friends) in South Africa have been shaken – to wonder and pursue God more.

    Derek’s life reached into ours – and always will. the extent of God’s message through him in punctuated by the fact that people 11,000 miles away will always be impacted. One thing struck me (after some wondering)…….exponentially more people are now sold out to pray for, adopt, and rescue children – as a result of Derek’s death. I’m not saying this is the reason….but you cannot wonder help wonder whether what Satan meant for harm only brings about God’s Cause more intensely.

    Your message brings comfort to many Randy. Thanks again. Robert

  49. Thank you!
    Praying for his family and all of you who were so close to him.

  50. Dear Randy,

    I’m driving into town from the village where I live, where my sister, Renee, grew up, where Derek was involved in missions in the Marshall Islands and where Derek and Renee met. We are scurrying to prepare for my departure tomorrow to join our family there in Kansas City for Derek’s memorial service and spend some time with Renee, the kids and Mom. I’ve asked my wife to type up these short words of thanks for the post on your blog entitled ” Reconciling What We Feel and What We Know.” Your words were full of wisdom, comfort, truth and challenge. I remember hearing your name in conversation with both Renee and Derek. My apologies for not having the time to find out more about you before this correspondence, but I felt an urgency to send you a quick word of thanks. I will ask my sister how to contact you while I am there as I would love to introduce myself. I look forward to reading your blog regularly upon my return.

    Terry Sasser

  51. […] December 29, 2009 · Leave a Comment Many of you may have heard of the tragic passing of Derek Loux, a great man here at the International House of Prayer. My beloved sister-of-the-heart, Tracie Loux, is married to Derek’s brother John, a man I deeply respect and feel honored to know. Both Loux families have committed to the causes of adoption and justice for children. I can’t even go into how much I love these people. Randy Bohlender wrote a fantastic post about Derek that you can read here. […]

  52. To the Loux family, I attended the conference this summer outside of Boston in Braintree. It was awesome. I was so blessed by Derek, by his messages and music and inspired by the love he expressed for Renee and his children and for all children, expecially the wounded and abandoned. I prayed a rosary on my way to do chores today and will keep praying for the loss we are suffering (the earthly loss) Jesus, I trust in you.
    In Jesus Love, Mary Ann Boley

  53. Randy – I don’t think God made any mistake in our paths crossing through circumstances that still don’t make sense. I do know that the life of Derek Loux has rocked me to my very core and I am leveled by his death. I do believe in our sovereign Gods plan yet I also believe THIS SUCKS! I know that even in Dereks death he’s touched lives that may have never been touched. His passion will live on that is for certain. During this time of extreme pain for Dereks family and friends know that you all are covered in prayer. Thank you for writing this. It truly is beautiful. God is GOOD ALL the time. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

  54. So very sad for this family. His legacy he has left behind will majorly impact this world, even in his death.

  55. […] and there are never any great answers. My friend Randy wrote an excellent blog post “Reconciling What We Feel and What We Know.” He gave us permission to say “this stinks.” We all appreciated that […]

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