"If you’re always tired, always under-rested, you’re not going to be capable of doing everything you need to get done.  You’re going to make mistakes more readily, lose your temper, or miss opportunities. " — Karen Jensen

When I was 37 years old, my husband Brent (also 37) was four years into pastoring a church we had pioneered in Boise, Idaho. But on the evening of New Year’s Day 1997, Brent went to bed before me, and by the time I got there about an hour later he had suddenly and inexplicably died. I called 911, but he was never revived.

As you can imagine, my life and the lives of my young sons (age 12 and 13 at the time) changed drastically after that. I went on to pastor the church by myself, and the boys grew up without a dad. 

In many ways, it was the worst time of our life. But in many ways it was also the best time, because we pressed into God and found Him to be faithful in every way. We held fast to Him and His Word -- and He saw us through.

I learned a lot of things during that time, but I wanted to talk about one of them in particular with you today. I want to talk about life getting better after a terrible event.

Not long after Brent died, I read Ecclesiastes 7:8, which says, “The end of something is better than its beginning.”

I took that verse to heart. My life with Brent had been great, and I missed him a lot – it took me some time to process my grief and that of my sons. As I held fast to God during that time, and meditated on verses like Ecclesiastes 7:8, I began to believe that life could not only continue, but it could get even better.

That sounds like what God would want, don’t you think? What a wonderful promise He gives us there in Ecclesiastes. He knows how to make our ending even better than our beginning – and I can promise you, He also helps us every step of the way. We don’t have to do it all on our own – we just have to believe what He has said.

Better and Better

Leaving behind our former life was probably the hardest part of losing Brent. But the more I looked into God’s Word I found that He thinks differently about life moving on. Even when something terrible has happened – even if we’re just afraid to grow older. In Proverbs 4:18 He says, “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”

According to that verse the path of a Christian’s life is getting brighter and brighter, not dimmer and dimmer! After Brent died, that was such good news to me. I learned that God thought my greatest days were ahead of me. And now that 20 years have gone by, I can say it’s true!

And it’s true for you. God says you’re not declining, you’re increasing. As you keep going down the path of life, you can get older and wiser – gain more knowledge, help more people and be more of a blessing to others.

I want to encourage you to keep going! Especially if something hard has happened to you. Or if the future scares you for any reason. You cannot begin to imagine all the good things God has planned for you. As Helen Keller said: “Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” Your life with God can be a great adventure.

Be encouraged and keep moving forward. As you embrace the next season of your life with expectation and faith, know that with Jesus, the best truly is yet to come.


This is an excerpt from Karen’s book “Why God Why: What To Do When Life Doesn’t Make Sense.” Watch the video or read the first part here.