{Turning tragedy into thanksgiving} The Murray’s story.

Written by: Scott Murray

Thanksgiving? ….Really?

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

“And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20)

Oct. 9th 2013, at the time, the worst day I could have imagined. Our 4 year old son Joey was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). My wife; Doretta and I were devastated. Cancer is a scary word. Joey began treatment the next day and our journey had begun. We spent Thanksgiving weekend sitting in a hospital room as treatment went into full swing. We stood firm on God’s promises of protection, that He would never leave us, and that we are never alone, even in our darkest hours.

The darkest hours were still to come. October 16th, only a week after Joey was diagnosed, Doretta suffered a stress seizure and was hospitalized for a 2 weeks under sedation for observations. She woke up and had her breathing tube removed on October 30th. A few hours later I got a call that her airway had collapsed, unrelated to anything else. More tests were done over the following days, but Doretta was unable to recover. Tuesday, November 5th Doretta passed into the presence of God, and our world crashed.

What’s there to be thankful for when you youngest son has cancer, and your wife has passed away leaving you with 3 boys (age 11; 7; 4) to walk incredible and seemingly insurmountable grief? On the surface, nothing, there is nothing to be thankful for.

We are not called to live on the surface; I can not allow my circumstances to dictate my life. My response to my circumstances must come from my faith in God who still sits on the throne, and who has never left me for a moment no matter where I wandered over this last year.

It’s been dark, lonely, painful, frustrating, and crippling at times. Through it all God has been faithful. I’m thankful for the people that have crossed my path with encouragement, support, prayer & for the blessings that people have so graciously given to our family.

I’m thankful that there is a God who loves me and sees where I am at, who has strengthen me, brought depth to my faith, and given me the ability to regain my footings and the courage to take another step each day.

John 16: 31 Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? 32 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

You will face trials and sorrow, God is not to blame for this, yet He alone is the one that will stand with you when you can not stand on your own. Embrace Him and be held by Him until the time comes where you can walk again; and rest assured that time will come because He has overcome all things.

Joey continues treatment, and is now in the maintenance phase, meaning he now goes once a month for clinic procedures and maintains daily at home oral medication. He will conclude treatment in January 2017 and go on to lead a normal life.
You can follow our family, and Joey’s progress on our Facebook page; (www.facebook.com/joeystrong13)


Scott Murray is a father, community leader, coach, pastor & mentor living in Ingersoll, ON with his family. He is strengthened by Faith; Family; Friends & Football, and as often as possible, in that order.


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