Power of Prayer: Overcoming the loss of a child - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Power of Prayer: Overcoming the loss of a child

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)
(KFVS) -

Recently on Facebook page we asked the question, "Do you believe in the power of prayer?"  

The response was overwhelming with almost everyone saying "yes," they believed.  

But one mother's post struck us the most.  

You see, her prayers hadn't been answered, but God didn't give her what she wanted.

While that could cast doubt in even the most faithful, it didn't for Bonnie Knowlan and her husband, Jack.  

Quite the opposite really.  

As a young mother, Bonnie recalls tucking her children in bed at night and murmuring a simple prayer to God.  

"I would lift my hands up and say, I give them to you. They're in your hands because I know you'll keep them safe," remembers Bonnie.  

God would have his hands full. Jack and Bonnie had four children, one girl followed by three rambunctious boys.

"We didn't plan on a set number. They were all good kids so we just kept going until we said, that's enough," Jack said with a smile.

Garrett was the second born, a kid who came out of the womb determined, focused, and competitive.  

Jack and Bonnie never worried about Garrett because of those attributes. "We always knew he'd be okay," recalled Jack.  

After graduating from Jackson High School, Garrett attended the Air Force Academy where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering.

Garrett quickly rose up through the ranks and was promoted to major.  

After assignments in Washington state, Ohio, and California, Garrett moved his young family to Florida in 2010.  

As a test flight engineer, Garrett was often on the newest and most advanced planes in the Air Force, charged with checking out anything related to the design and flight of aircraft.  

Garrett loved his job.  

But in October of 2012, tragedy struck off the coast of Pensacola. Garrett was killed.  

Not on a flight, but during routine water survival training.

"He had gotten in the water, wrapped up his parachute, and was blowing up his raft when he was hit," said Jack.  

Garrett was run over the boat that was supposed to get him out of the water.  

A freak accident that took the Air Force six months to sort out.  

Days later in Florida, still numb from the realization that Garrett was dead, Jack and Bonnie were at a crossroads. Jack remembers looking at Bonnie and saying, "We either believe and trust in God or we don't. We both said, 'We believe.' That was a critical moment for us."  

How do parents who've lost the most precious gift God can give, survive?  For Bonnie and Jack it was through prayer.  

Theirs and those of many others.  

"I didn't feel I could turn away from him," said Bonnie, "because I felt I needed him now more than ever."  

While they admit their faith was shaken to the core, Bonnie and Jack believe that without it, they would've been lost.

"I would be in a big, black hole," said Bonnie.  

How could God let this happen? Why Garrett? Why is this their family's path? All questions the Knowlans would struggle with.  

Didn't God hear the prayer of the young mother, asking him to protect her children? Bonnie and Jack believe he did.  

They don't like his answer and will never know the answers to all "whys."  

However, Jack is sure of one thing,

"God uses these events that break our hearts to make us better Christians. I know it's made me a better Christian. I look for ways to help people now."

Bonnie and Jack's faith tells them that they'll be with Garrett again someday.  

Garrett's faith was strong too so that gives them comfort.

Although recounting their story is difficult, the Knowlans believe it may give hope to others who are suffering hard times.

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Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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