08 August, 2008

Peace

Steven Curtis Chapman and family were on GMA (watch the video!) this week. It was an emotional interview, yet it is amazing to see what God is doing in their lives. His manager posted these thoughts on their recent Larry King interview here.

SCC's youngest daughter was killed in May when her older brother accidentally ran into her. The details coming out of the tragedy are quieting. The son was coming home and she ran to meet him. Her death happened in a split second. In the fury of activity surrounding the home no one saw her...

What strikes me is in the moments after the accident the way God was revealed. It was said that when the son realized what he did he ran, ran to get away from the situation, and his older brother chased him, tackled him and prayed over him. As SCC and his wife were pulling away he screamed out the window that he loved his son. Instant forgiveness, instant love.

I respect the Chapman's immensely and the fact they are being honest and real about what they are feeling, and how their faith is getting them through. SCC admitted to asking God why he took their daughter, why he "allowed" it to happen like that... The son continues to struggle (and probably will) but is surrounded by people who love him. This could have torn them apart - but in the quietness of the tragedy God is speaking and I think, because Steven has been so faithful to Him, he now has peace and strength that surpasses understanding.

It would be easy for some to look at this tragedy and the apparent strength the Chapman's have and doubt it. I can hear the voices saying their faith isn't real, it's an act, it's false trust in a cruel God. But it's not. When crap happens you have two choices rely on yourself or rely on God. Relying on God doesn't mean it won't hurt or that you won't cry or that it will make sense. God never promises instant answers or relief from pain. But he does promise comfort, he does promise love - and part of relying on God is doing it! We can't claim to rely on God and curse him. We can't pretend to fall in His arms and then drink ourselves cold. Relying on God means walking with Him through the pain and the uncertainty and the tears. Relying on God will bring you comfort if you give up enough to LET HIM COMFORT YOU. The amount to which God can comfort you is directly related to how big you think He is. Your perception of God is linked to how you respond to Him. How can you call Him cruel and expect Him to be able to give you peace? Trusting in God means that TRUSTING - and whether it's something small like loneliness or something big like death - it's surrendering yourself to God knowing that you will never understand it all.

In watching the interview I was struck at how SCC said they were “grieving with hope.” He said, “While we are grieving this process there is a hope that we have that we anchored to in the midst of what sometimes just seems unbearable.” They are not denying their pain – but realizing that without God they would be totally lost. They all speak of the process of grieving as a daily, a momentary decision which way to go. They speak of the bad days – but all come back to the fact that God is God and He has their sister cradled in His arms. The son who was driving the car said he makes the choice to, “Continue to choose to live… and that’s the faith that continues to keep me going.”

SCC has a song "Yours" and added the following verse to it following the death of his daughter:

"I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you."


(See the video here)

In the end I think Steven said it best: We’re a family with a lot of questions, but that’s what faith is it’s living with the questions.

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© Amanda Lunday