Kyle McNeil

Kyle McNeil

The Greatness of God… Contrasting Experiences with Death

The below is from a talk I shared on Feb 14, 2021 at Church.

Note: Small edits from the original have been made in order to be blog friendly since this talk was shared live along with my wife’s talk.

There are three questions we can ask when we hear about plans.

  1. How is this plan relevant to me?
  2. Can I trust the creator of this plan?
  3. Can I trust this plan?

Let’s discuss today how: Belief in God… Precedes a relationship with God

And how a “plan” eventually fits into this equation.

By the way… if in the first 28 years of my life if God had a plan for me, I had no idea what it was!  

Beyond the occasional reference to God in a country song, God, faith or religion were far removed from my world. I had a general belief in God… however beyond that, I didn’t know what I actually believed, or frankly why it mattered.

That said, between different pursuits including my love for the game of hockey. And after my “hockey career” (if you want to call it that) ended, an interest to pursue post-secondary education became my new focus. Overview life was generally good and seemed to be coming together.

Until late one afternoon on Feb 10, 2010… 

In fact it was 11 years ago this week I received a phone call. 

I picked up the phone. It was my brother. I noticed a sadness in his voice.

What’s up Robin I asked tentatively? 

He responded… “Kyle… dad has passed away”.

3 years of battling esophagus cancer, and it was over. 

We both wept. 

As a young child, my dad was a hero to me. He seemingly could do anything, was a true friend and one of my biggest supporters. I remember when he would come home, I would be playing with my toys. He looked 10 feet tall and was quick to smile.

After he died, I emotionally suffering. In fact, an endless sadness and buckets of tears would be an accurate description of my experience. In this time I resonated so deeply with one song in particular that so poignantly shares…

“I’m not crying cause I feel so sorry for you… I’m cryin for me…”

~ Toby Keith

At the same time, I started to wonder… deep in my heart. Now that my Dad was gone; Where has he gone? Will I see him again? If there’s anything I can do or change to see him again, what would it be? 

The answers weren’t immediate, but my heart was starting to change. For the first time in my life I had spiritual questions. Additionally, I was willing to make changes (if needed), and started to believe just a little in God… I even read a novel or two where God was portrayed as loving, capable and kind.

The anguish of soul persisted but so did a growing and sincere desire for answers from God. 

The answer came in early 2011.

And this scripture from the New Testament sums up the type of peace that came into my life as a result.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”

Jesus Christ in John 14:27

For now, let’s pause with my journey in coping with my dad’s passing.

As we do, let’s turn to another experience. One that happened a short 30 months after my dad’s passing.

Another painful yet contrasting experience

This time it was my girlfriend of 18 months who had a sudden stroke, that ultimately took her life.

Here’s the summary: 

“Ashley Johnson passed away suddenly on October 18, 2012 at the Foothills Medical Centre at the age of 27. She will be dearly missed by her parents Wayne and Jocelyn Johnson.” Along with countless others including me. {Source}

This time although my life was different, and the relationship was different. The sorrow was still there. But something was extremely in my favor this time, that brought me peace.

What was different you might ask?

I would like to share a scripture from Matthew 7 with you. My intention here is to highlight God… and His capacity.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.

Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 7 of the New Testament

You see… 13 months after my dad passed away, I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and made promises (known as covenants) to follow Christ. 

What was different the second time is that Christ was my rock! Whereas with my mortal father (my dad) was my rock before.

This time it was different. I had a firm foundation.

Yes, Ashley’s passing was devastating in its own way. Her father Wayne, I think hit the nail on the head, when he said: “Kyle I think this is harder on you than us… because you and Ashley thought you would spend your life together”.

Christ is a sure Foundation!

This time though I had a rock like none other… in Jesus Christ.

Thanks to Christ and the knowledge of his resurrection. Ashley, my father… and every other friend or family member who has or will pass away lives on. This life is not the end and I will see them again!

This truth brings me immense joy. 

As quoted in The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. He is a sure foundation upon which men (or women) build… they can not fall.

We cannot fall because Christ did not fall. He did everything he said he would do and overcame death. He knows our pains and sorrows, and his love is pure.

God’s plan is perfect and so is His character.

His plan of happiness is something I’m so grateful to know. It strengthens me in hard times because God changes us from the inside out. He has and continues to change me for the better.

I have many friends who seek personal growth and improvement.

For those who genuinely seek personal improvement and growth. There are many plans and programs in our world from which we can derive knowledge and inspiration to improve. After years of seeking growth in my life, I want to let you know I deeply believe that God’s plan is the best plan!

It’s the only plan, course, or content that has ever been perfectly devised because God is perfect. Every essential contingency, resource, and support is covered or provided.

God’s plan does not protect us against the waves of life. It does however consistently buoy us up as we turn to Him, seek to hear Him, and follow Him.

Testimony of Christ

I have a testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ is where Christ is available in the greatest abundance. I think this because of the power that flows through covenant promises we get to make with Him.

I’m looking forward to Annelisa’s talk where she shares more about God’s Plan. A beautiful plan, a perfect plan.

On a personal note, I would like to close with this because it sums up my feelings.

In the words of a beloved primary song entitled “He Sent His Son”.

How could the Father tell the world
Of sacrifice, of death?
He sent his Son to die for us
And rise with living breath.

What does the Father ask of us?
What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son
Help others on their way.

What does he ask?
Live like his Son

I share my testimony of the power of Jesus Christ to heal hearts like no one else can. And I share this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

PS – if you have any questions or want to share your thoughts or feelings, please reach out. Also, if you are interested to learn more like I did, visit:

Much love,

Share this post