Late one night in November 2004, while Marc Woerlen was in Ottawa preparing for his family to move there, he received news that would have devastated anyone. Marc lost his wife and his seven children in a tragic house fire near Pelham, Ontario in Canada.
It was an unimaginable tragedy. Not only was it devastating for family and friends, it also touched people on the entire North American continent and throughout the world. Losing one family member is difficult enough for a person to deal with, but losing eight is nearly impossible to comprehend.
Through the entire experience, Marc has nevertheless had unshakable faith and trust in God. His faith has encouraged and strengthened many. People wonder what has held him up during the difficult time and what has given him the strength to keep living.
Faith in God's goodness
“One thing that has been a great help for me is to understand that God’s Word is true,” said Marc Woerlen in an interview in 2007.
He tells in the video that he has not let go of faith in God’s goodness.
“God is good, and he shows us His goodness,” says Woerlen.
Marc can testify that God has rewarded him for his faith. Now he lives in Ottawa with his second wife, Hilde, and their sons. He tells Brunstad.org about how he first came to believe in a good God.
"One thing that has been a great help for me is to understand that God's Word is true."
“I remember when I gave my heart to follow Jesus. It happened during a church service that was held for the youth during a summer church conference in Brighton, Ontario. I was a teenager, and I was in need. This resulted in me going forward for prayer towards the end of the service. I also remember that parents, friends, and newly converted young people would celebrate the decisions that were made at the evening snack bar, which opened after the service was over,” says Marc.
He made the decision to live wholeheartedly for God, in everything. Always.
Marc tells that during his youth time, the youth leaders had a big impact on his life, and he learned about Word of God from childhood.
He did not turn away from God.
This decision was the start of a lifetime of faith in God. After the accident, Marc chose to trust God rather than turn away from Him.
“After the fire it became very real to me that God had His "mighty hand" in all things. I needed to bow before Him. Turning away from God was never a question. He gave me tremendous comfort through many signs and wonders including answers to prayer from the many faithful saints.”
He mentions examples of some of the wonders he experienced:
“A group of my children's friends asked to start having a Bible study group at the school. What could parents and teachers say to this? Children—many who were strangers to me before—would come and hold my hand and sit on my lap at moments when only the Spirit could have moved them to do so.” Marc says.
"I felt like there was nothing for me to do other than to simply bow before God."
Shortly after the accident, Marc realized he had been healed from his asthma.
“An answer to godly men in the church praying for me in my youth time at a church conference; they told me I would be healed in the Lord's time,” he says.
God cares for His sheep
His experience on the day of the funeral made a deep impression on him.
”People stood on the roadside for miles and threw flowers, and the police stood at attention and saluted in respect as the caskets were driven by.”
He received letters from prisoners stating they had turned and given their hearts to the Lord.
”I felt like there was nothing for me to do other than to simply bow before God.”
”Do you feel that this experience has made you stronger?”
“This experience has made me realize that without God, I am nothing. A person can feel great or successful at various times, but God can allow these feelings to vaporize. On the other hand, He doesn't crush the bruised reed or the feeble knee,” says Marc, (Is. 42:3; Heb. 12:12)
Marc has words of advice for young people today who are struggling to find the path that is right for them.
"God is our true Shepherd, and he cares for His sheep."
“Pray to God in your secret place. He wants to lead us all "beside still waters" and His rod (for chastening) and staff (for guiding) shall comfort us. (Ps. 23). A good test to know which path to follow is if it leads us to peace and joy. Unrest is from the devil. God is our true Shepherd, and He cares for His sheep."