Last night we heard the tragic news regarding one of Steven and Mary Beth Chapman's Cinderellas. I have a five-year old daughter and I could scarce let go of her the rest of the night. In fact she slept in mine and Luke's bed - at our request. And we grieve for this family because we can't imagine having to let go of our own baby girl while realizing we are also not immune to this or some other unimaginable pain. May our prayer in the midst of these times always be that of Job:
"But it is still my consolation, and I rejoice in unsparing pain, that I have not denied the words of the Holy One." (Job 6:10)
It is now that the world is watching to see if this family will buckle. If they will shake their fist in the face of God who they perceive let this awful thing happen. And you know what? No one would blame them. Goodness, a lot of professing Christians wouldn't blame them just based on the sheer numbers who have turned their own backs when life didn't go as planned.
And then there is the issue of Glory. When we respond in the way that people expect, when no one blames us for our reactions, then all eyes are on us - and they stop right there. But, if through a million tears we can hold our faces towards the sky and profess that God is enough? That He is Goodness and Love and Truth and that no amount of Satan's torture can cause us not to trust Him? THAT, girls, is where Fame takes over. Not yours, but God's. If you are baffling the world with a sense of peace that passes understanding, you may be looked at for a moment but ultimately unbelievers will want to know, "How? How can you possibly be surviving because I couldn't?" That is when you point to the Father and make Him famous all over again.
Blame or Fame? If your goal is God's Glory, you'd better choose it now. Just like a weaker runner needs a head start in a race, when awful things happen we need some stored up resolve to send us headlong into that thing. Choose you this day whom you will serve, not that day. God absolutely is our strength when we are weak, but can't we help Him out just a dadgum pinch? Can we give Him SOMETHING to work with? Don't make your God start out with a rookie in the heat of battle, girls. Let's give him faith that is prepared to go the long haul.
Let's continually pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. That Steven and Mary Beth can have the strength to overcome their own grief enough to wrap their arms around the son who is doubly devastated.
That through Christ they will have abundant, exceeding power to exercise their pre-determined, famous, enduring faith.
Thursday, May 22, 2008