In order for a glow stick to shine it must be broken on the inside.
There are some things in life I’d just as soon not know. Knowing it just hurts I have friends who know this fact even more than me. I guarantee they would just as soon not know. But knowing makes you all the deeper, all the more real, all the more able to be used, all the more stronger. I bring three pieces of evidence to the courtroom of the public opinion today:
1) Shari Smith. 2 days before her high school graduation, her father, the pastor of the church in their town, was looking out of the window of his study as his daughter drove up their driveway, get out of the car and check the mail. He went back to studying. A few moments later, he looked up again to see her car still in the driveway with the door open, and car running, but she was gone. To make a long story short, she was abducted, raped, and murdered by Larry Gene Bell. This case has been featured on TV in both Forensic Files and The FBI Files. Before her life was taken from her, her killer gave her a choice in how to die, and then had her write her last will and testament. What would you write? If you knew you were about to die? What would you want people to know? Here is what she wrote, as recorded on her sister’s website:
I love you Mommy, Daddy, Robert, Dawn & Richard (her boyfriend) and everyone else and all other friends and relatives. I’ll be with my Father now, so please, please don’t worry. Just remember my witty personality & great special times we all shared together. Please don’t even let this ruin your lives, just keep living one day at a time for Jesus. Some good will come out of this. My thoughts will always be with you & in you. Casket closed.
(After a personal note to Richard, Shari continues.) Mom, Dad, Robert & Dawn, there’s so much I want to say that I should have said before now. I love y’all! I know ya’ll love me and will miss me very much, but if ya’ll stick together like we always did – ya’ll can do it! Please do not become hard or upset. “Every thing works out for the good of those that love the Lord” (Romans 8:28). (http://www.dawnsmithjordan.com/article_ROC.php)
Incredible words and perspective for an innocent 18-year-old girl about to die. I want to focus on her family. What are they to believe? How is dad to go on pastoring his church? Believe me, I know I am treading on holy ground here, and I do not look at any of this flippantly – I have the utmost of respect for this family. They press on because God gives the grace and the power to do so. They did not give up, nor did they shrink back. Could God have prevented this all? You bet! Here is where I lose a lot of people: God had bigger things in store that day, and in the days to follow. The death of this beautiful young lady has touched more people than her life ever could have. God maximized her life through her death. Yet in this plan, her family would hurt and have to suffer much pain. However, unless we are broken, we cannot shine His glory. His glory brings healing to people, and it transforms us all if we let it. I, for one, choose to not let her death be in vain.
2. Maria Chapman. I was surfing through YouTube trying to find a certain song when my favorite musician showed up on James Robison’s show. I watched it with tears streaming down my face. Here is the link to the episode: http://lifetoday.tv/swf/2010/03/100304.htm. Steven Curtis Chapman is a man among men. Who can lose his daughter and press on to serve God and actually write and sing songs about it without breaking down in tears every time? Steven is every bit of a dad I would ever hope to be – a man of God, and accomplished musician. Yet, I again would say that God’s plan included pain, that He would heal, but was necessary for the furtherance of His glory and to bring people to Him in such a way that could never have happened through Maria’s life. He maximized her life through her death. But in the process, her family hurt.-But unless we are broken inside, we cannot shine. God’s plan was for HIS glory to be shown that day and for many millions of people following the story to be touched and drawn to Him. I would not wish the story to be replicated in anybody’s life. I understand the pain – from a distance. Again, I choose to let her death not be in vain.
3. Eva. I have a dear friend who suffered the loss of her mother years ago to suicide. A tragic loss. Made more tragic by the consistent impact it has had on those this mother left behind – one of those people being my friend whom I’ll call Eva. Eva also is a mother, who is trying to minimize the damage of such an act to her children – who loved their grandmother. Eva has struggled with this suicide for years now since it happened. Just a few days ago she received a message from a fiend of hers who had battled depression for years. Little did Eva know that her friend had also seriously considered suicide. But her friend chose not to. Why? because she saw the damage it caused Eva’s family, and she in no way wanted to perpetuate this legacy to her children and loved ones, so she is alive today, and after years of Eva struggling to know “why” finally got at least one reason, so another entire family would be torn up. We cannot shine until we are broken inside.
There are varying levels of brokeness. Joseph struggled under great brokeness after his own brothers left him for dead in a pit. Yet, years later he would again see those same brothers. Would he exact revenge? Should he? I know he struggled with it, yet scripture reveals this mighty truth that Joseph told his brothers:
But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:19-20
It is really muddy waters when a person tries to declare if God did something or not. I am not implying God caused harm to any of the people mentioned above. I do know this: He could have prevented it, but chose not to. WHy? Don’t know, except this is part of it: the 50:20 principle. Genesis 50:20. A little girl about to be murdered also said the same thing when she wrote Romans 8:28 in her last will and testament.
Let me close with this story:
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. John 9:1-7
If you have pain today, submit it to Jesus. He desires to heal it, but He also wants to use it. He will meet you there. Invite the Holy Spirit into the pain and into the source of the pain. This same Jesus who suffered even to death Himself, “also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor 3:6)
Our bodies are made of clay, yet we have the treasure of the Good News in them. This shows that the superior power of this treasure belongs to God and doesn’t come from us….God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, and we know that God will also raise us with Jesus….All these things are for you. And so the grace of God that is being given to more and more people will bring increasing thanks to God for his glory. So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles.
18 We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever. – 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
To those who have suffered loss, my deepest condolences go to you. If you will email me, I would like to pray for you in your loss that Jesus will help you make sense of it all.