It is hard to find a reason why bad things happen. Adages promising hope and future are shallow when unexpected tragedies occur. Yet, inspite of difficult times there is often a rationalizing that takes place to reason through hard situations. Sometimes God’s reasons are more compelling than man’s thinking. This is the current case for Hillcrest junior Jonathan Eckhardt and the difficult road he is facing.
One year ago Jonathan’s dad was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma, a deadly form of cancer. The illness was a shock for the Eckhardt family. However, family life prior to the diagnosis formed a strong bond that not only strengthened Jonathan’s faith, but strengthened his family spiritually, helping them grow closer together as a family for the long road ahead.
Jonathan believed in Jesus for as long as he can remember. Going to church with his family, he knows he is a Christian because he sees the church’s teaching consistent with reality. During his elementary years, he participated in Junior Bible Quiz (JBQ), a competition where team members are quizzed on their knowledge of the Bible. Jonathan knows the Bible well because of this competition.
Jonathan, his older brother David, and his younger sister Hannah attended Morning Son Christian School from kindergarten through sixth grade, where his younger brother Matthew is currently attending as a second grader. The Christian school experience gave Jonathan and his siblings a good foundation and understanding of the Bible, something needed as the family faces uncertain times ahead.
Finishing sixth grade at Morning Son, Jonathan’s parents gave him a choice; he could either attend the local public high school, or attend Hillcrest Academy. Although both his parents went to public school, Jonathan decided he would attend Hillcrest his seventh grade year. The choice was an opportunity to not only continue in his education with friends, but continue building his faith in Christ. The Christ-centered environment made his Hillcrest experience special, helping strengthen him for unforeseen struggles and tests developing in his father’s health.
Jonathan’s past prepared him for this current test of faith, his dad’s cancer. The cancer attacking his father’s body has created a need for Jonathan to manage additional responsibilities that come with living in the country, staying on top of school work, and caring for his father. A lot of additional pressure to place on the shoulders of a junior in high school. However, with support from family and friends, and a trust in God built through his Christian education, Jonathan and his family are going through the tests building an even greater relationship with each other, and with God.
Since Jonathan’s Dad has been unable to work throughout the past year, Jonathan and his family were unsure whether or not he and his sister Hannah (an eighth grader at Hillcrest) would be able to continue attending Hillcrest. Before the start of the year they discovered someone paid for their first semester tuition. This was a magnificent surprise and a true blessing from God; an answer to prayer that the Eckhardts are very grateful for.
Prayer and support from family and friends has transformed a dire situation into a season of refined hope. Recent reports show a decrease in the cancer, and the Eckhardts are praying and believing they will see a full recovery. Jonathan’s faith formation through Morning Son and Hillcrest is enabling him and his family to remain strong through this difficult time, finding hope through past preparation.