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Wisdom Beyond His Years
When the 19-year-old son of a pastor died of leukemia, he left a testimony and legacy that is touching hearts and changing lives. Here are his parting thoughts.

Good Morning! It’s good to be here and to see everyone again. It’s been quite a long time and I wasn’t sure if this day would ever come, but it’s good to be back – finally!

Benjamin David Elliott

I’m not going to be very long this morning because I’m kind of weak, I have a pounding headache and I’m a little nauseous to be honest with you.

I don’t want to have this morning focus on me at all. In fact, I was quite hesitant to even do this because I thought that by me coming up here it would get the focus of this last year on me and that’s the exact opposite of what I want this to be. This whole past year has been all about God entirely and His ultimate plan and purpose for my life and everyone’s.

The first thing I want to say is, Thank You!

Thank you for all your love and support and encouragement and prayers. I’m positive they went a long way in allowing me to keep my sanity throughout months in hospital and through all the ups and downs and everything. The power of prayer can’t be matched at all. Thank you very much for that.

Thank you to everyone who came out this past week and wave to me as I was supposed to fly over the church building. It didn’t work out that way. We got up eventually and it was very good. 

Thank you also for letting my dad and family have some extra time off so to spend time together. It’s been good and I’ve appreciated it a lot.

Secondly, I want to talk about suffering a bit.

I think I’ve learned a thing or two about suffering the past 12 months and I wonder what has been accomplished for God’s ultimate will because of my suffering? If I had had just a “normal year,” life would have continued as normal. But how many opportunities for God would have been missed if I hadn’t endured that?

I’ve learned this past year that it is possible to suffer and go through terrible circumstances with a smile on your face and not have to ask the question “Why me?” Gods’ plan is bigger than all of us. His plans always work out perfectly, according to His will. So why should we waste our time asking “why” when instead we can sit back and just say “wow!!!”

I can keep a smile on my face because I’ve learned that suffering isn’t a punishment from God or a curse from Satan. Instead, I’ve learned that my suffering is a rare opportunity from God to showcase how awesome He really is.

While battling leukemia I have also learned that suffering has a way of connecting people, sometimes in weird circumstances, but the result is usually for the better. These past 12 months I have met and been helped by many, many incredible people; many people who do not have a relationship with God. I guess I won’t really know fully until eternity what impact my story may have had on them. But, if I was able to see a few of those people when I get to heaven, or when they get to heaven, just think of how exciting that will be!

My suffering has also connected me to God in ways that only after living through this kind of circumstance would you be able to understand. I hope that somehow, through my suffering, you have been connected to God in a deeper way too.

A cool thought I just got yesterday while running over this for a final time was that maybe my temporary suffering on earth has brought others to God, ultimately preventing them from eternal suffering in hell! I don’t know. Just a thought I had yesterday.

And finally to sum up this whole suffering thing, I read a quote a few weeks ago and here it is:

“Our healing begins when we participate in the suffering of God. When we don't avoid it but enter into it, and in the process, enter into the life of God. When we see our pain not as separating us from, but connecting us to our Maker.”

Finally, I want to talk about death.

I wonder if you have ever really thought about death. I mean not just a casual crossing your mind or passing thought – everyone’s done that. I mean really, really thought about death, because I have a little bit.

I don’t mean to brag or sound proud or be boastful or anything, but I’m not afraid to die. I’m not worried about my death and I’m not afraid to die because I’m a Christian. I know that death just means I move from this life on earth to an eternal party in heaven. I can say 100 percent honestly that I am not scared to die, but I’m very excited actually. Just to think that there will be no pain or suffering – just partying and happiness eternally!

My name is written down in heaven! Think about that! “Benjamin David Elliott” is physically written down in the Book of Eternal Life! If that's not a cool mental image then I don’t know what is!!

Psalm 139:16 says that “All my days ordained for me were written in God’s book before even one of them came to be.” Meaning God was in charge from the day I was born and is equally as is in charge of the day that I will die and takes me home. So, I don’t have to be worried or afraid, I just have to trust Him!

It says in John 3:2 that when we die we will be like Jesus. Now maybe I’m taking this verse a little bit out of context, but just think about this, when Jesus came back from the dead He was able to physically walk through walls. I don’t know, I just think that’s kind of cool!

So yes, God wants us to have a long life on earth and enjoy ourselves, but just think of how incredible eternity will be! We as Christians should not be scared of death. Instead, we should look forward with hope to an amazing eternal life in heaven. Ultimately, it all comes down to our relationship with Jesus. It’s not about religion, it’s about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

So, I guess the bottom line and big question is this: Are you just a religious person, or do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Is your name written down in the big name book in heaven of eternal life? If it’s not, you should definitely take some time out of your day to think about how awesome eternity can and will be if it’s spent with God in heaven! And, then I’ll see you there and we can party forever!

My ultimate prayer is that God’s will, will be done and everyone will be okay with that. Whether that’s living for 90 more years or going to see Him very, very soon. The truth is, for a Christian it doesn’t really matter. There is no bad option. It’s a win/win either way.

Here is a final verse that I'm not going to read, you have to look it up in the Bible yourself, if you care enough. It’s a verse that has kept me going throughout this past year. God takes care of every single detail in our lives – very, very, very specific details. I think that’s cool too!!   Thinking that someone cares that much about me, and knows so much about me is a very humbling thought. So I’ll leave you with Matthew 10:30.

Thank you again very much for your prayers. (Standing ovation as Ben exited the church.)

Benjamin David Elliott's address to his church can be viewed on YouTube.

Originally published through Memorial Baptist Church, Stratford, ON, August 9, 2009.

Used with permission. Copyright © 2009                                                   C23SE09

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