The Hand of God

Posted: February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Seeing God’s hand.

My wife and kids spend almost every weekend at a couple’s house from our church named Ron and Sheila Brown.  Since we moved to our little remote Yukon village last year this couple have been a blessing beyond words right when we needed it. familyWhere we live is a bit remote so often we have to travel a couple of hours to Whitehorse for church, groceries, supplies, gas, and to remember that normal life still exists outside of our town (a needed reminder every so often). Ron and Sheila from our first week living here and our first experience at Whitehorse Baptist Church have always had an open door for us, before even getting to know us they made sure we knew that their upstairs apartment was there when we needed it, and a listening ear was always available. Since we are 6,000 km away from our families and everyone we know, they are our Yukon parents, counsellors, advisory board and friends.

Superbowl weekend 2015 was no different. We showed up Friday afternoon and moved in upstairs (all 4 of us plus the dog). We spent the weekend laughing, and chatting, enjoying meals together, going to church and so on. We ate gas station fried chicken (at Ron’s insistence that it was better than KFC – and it was), and I spent hours in his garage looking over his unbelievable gun collection. Another normal weekend with friends.

textOn Sunday Feb. 1st 2015 my wife and I left Ron and Sheila’s house a bit later than we planned (I had lost my phone and we were back tracking), Ron and I spent a few minutes combing the outside lot in -40 degree weather but found nothing. It was late and we had a two hour drive ahead of us so we had to get on the road. The girls say goodbye to their friends and we headed home. When we got home (a few hours later), nearing midnight we transferred the sleeping kids to bed and I told my wife I was going to the mountain to take some pictures as the sky was completely lit up. Sheila texted me and we quickly made plans for next week, I suggested maybe we would be back and she was more than happy to offer the space letting me know that they are both planning on being there.

I went out and started shooting for an hour or so well into the night I captured lots of photos and while I loved the process, they weren’t amazing photos so I thought nothing of them specifically at the time.  (for more about my shooting and pics of the Northern lights check out Gods Painting on the Canvass of Heaven) but got home and processed a few and posted them online.

ron 4ron 3

When I awoke the next morning Feb. 2nd 2015 and got to work, within 5 minutes of me opening my office I got a call from, Ron’s daughter that my good friend and “Yukon dad” had passed away in the night.  Completely unexpectedly.  Sheila found him that morning, with his bible open and side lamp on. He had drifted into the kingdom and away from this world while he slept. I was completely torn up. This was my go to man for guns and hunting supplies, advice and wisdom, friendship and a dinner out. Ron was also the former director of where I currently work and he always offered me advice and moral support for some of the decisions I had to make on the job. We had only been here for just over a year but this man had a very significant impact on my life. Devastated. ron2 I went home and spent some time with my family, I explained to my 5 year old that her friend Ron had gone to be with Jesus. Kezzy in her limited wisdom smiled and said “He’s okay now, God will take care of him”. Later that day I checked my posting online of the Aurora Borealis I had shared and this one specific picture was pointed out to me by a friend.  It seemed like the hand of God was reaching out from the sky down to earth.  My heart both sank and was lifted in the same breath.

Seeing God’s Hand

10426126_10152522689835940_576378262767417239_nGod was so present that night as I sat in the dark snapping pictures of the heavens above me, for more reasons than I had realized. Through my limited lens I can now see the hand of God giving me and those who loved Ron an incredible reminder that Ron was in Gods Hands.  Cradled by the light of this world and taken into eternity to his final destination. In the same picture I realize that while I am able to witness what looks like the hand of God in Ron’s death, I’m so much more blessed to have been able to see the hand of God through Ron’s life even more clearly.

I thank God for this reminder that we are held in the palm of his hand. I thank Ron for being a friend who showed me deep love and wisdom, counsel and friendship. And I thank Sheila who has flawlessly continued to carry his torch. Ron has been “Welcomed Home”.   He has finished his race well, and now he sits with his Creator and his Friend.

Until we meet again, your friend.

Marshal Burnham

Feb 2nd 2015

  1. Annick Kroesen says:

    Hello Marshall,

    What a beautiful story and photo! I first read your story of “Joy in mourning” that my friend shared on her Facebook page, and I related to it a lot. I had a son in the spring of 1973, and was expecting another baby a few month later. I was not too happy about it as these children would have been close together. It only took me a couple of days to rejoice in the new life that was given to me. And a couple of month later God took this life away from me and I felt devastated. May be It was because of my lack of gratitude? I don’t know, God wasn’t in my life back then. For a few years after this miscarriage we tried to conceive again, and it was not happening, and every month the hopes and disappointment were part of my life. Then I decided that our son should know God. I was raised Catholic but I didn’t fit in this religion, so went shopping for a church that we made our own. Si years after our son was born I had a little girl who was my joy in every sense of the world. And the day she was born I told my husband I was ready for our next baby. But God (I found out later) had his plan for me. And I had to wait another 4 years of monthly anticipations and disappointments, I was not compliant nor obedient to God’s work in my life. I thought many times of Sarah and Abraham who didn’t trust God’s plan of conception, I was like them. Then I was longing for grandchildren, and again in God’s timing I received a beautiful smart witty granddaughter who is now 6, and cherub of a grandson who is now 5. Like you there are so many things I do not understand, but the one thing I have come to realize is that God’s plan is perfect and doesn’t have to coincide with my plans.. And all I have to do is trust him, trust his wisdom, and surrender my will to him. It has been a life long learning, I am not a fast learner and rather rebellious, but I am getting there. Thanks for sharing your experiences, I sympathize with your losses and rejoice with you in the greatness of the Lord! I am for ever grateful that he has been way more faithful to me than I have been to him.

    God bless you and your family!!!


    • Thank you for your response and sharing your story too. It’s amazing how we respond to God both in and out of relationship with him. In the end I’m glad we agree that God’s plan is perfect, so much easier to see when we get to know him personally. Thanks again, I appreciate your comments.

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