By Steve Gregg
As a pastor, I am often pointing people to passages in Scripture to encourage them in any number of ways. It might be surprising to some of you that these words from Joseph to his brothers are some I return to again and again.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (Genesis 50:20)
Having come to ask for food in the midst of a famine, these sons of Jacob discover that the ruler whom they are asking for mercy is in fact Joseph whom they had shown none. The younger brother sold into slavery as a teen, is now standing before them as the second most powerful man in Egypt. Joseph however sees beyond the pain of his betrayal to see the hand of his God, using his pain and suffering to bring about redemption.
In 2003, Mike and Eileen Lauzardo became intimately acquainted with pain and suffering. That year their two children, Ryan and Keira were both diagnosed with leukemia just a few weeks apart. This led to months of treatments and hospitalizations for both children, who were three and less than a year old at the time. In the end, Ryan recovered, but Keira did not.
In the midst of the pain and the grief, one of the many questions they wrestled with was how could God bring something good out of such a loss. They came across a study about childhood cancer in other countries and work being done to increase the survival rate. Both being doctors and Mike working in public health, they decided to launch the Keira Grace Foundation raising funds and support for a children’s cancer center in the Dominican Republic. Since then, the survival rate for children in the DR suffering from cancer has increased from the 20% range to over 70%. God has used their personal tragedy and professional experience to impact the lives of hundreds of children and their families.
One reason I love telling their story is that Eileen’s and Mike’s faith has not only sustained them during such a dark time but it has been at the center of their seeking redemption in the midst of overwhelming personal loss. While never lessening the loss of Keira, the work over the past 16 years has shown that God does in fact use broken situations, in this case to literally give life to hundreds of children.
For those of you who would like to know more, Mike and Eileen will be hosting their 15th annual Keira Grace Foundation fundraiser February 22nd. For more information, please go to https://www.keiragracefoundation.org.