"He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted...to comfort those who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Isaiah 61:1b-3
During this hour, as I write, the Steven Curtis Chapman family is experiencing the funeral of their 5 year old daughter, Maria. As I look into the eyes of my own beautiful China doll, Melea, I can't even begin to comprehend the agony that they are enduring. As tears flow and the weight in my chest feels almost suffocating, I know that their devastation is intensified beyond imagination. And not only must they fathom the death of their vibrant child, but minister to their son, Will Franklin, a precious young man having to deal with the heartbreak of being the driver of the vehicle that backed over her body.
As I question God as to how something so unthinkable could happen, the lyrics to the song, "Held" by Natalie Grant keep playing in my head.
To think that providence would
Take a child from his mother while she prays
Who told us we’d be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We’re asking why this happens
To us who have died to live? It’s unfair.
Chorus: This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held.
Yes, someone sacred has been torn from the Chapman family...from a family who has "died" to selfishness, to privacy, and sacrificed so many things to LIVE that others might come to know Christ through testimony and song, so that through setting the example of adoption and sharing their story with others, and providing financially so that many beautiful little girls from China have been brought into homes where they could be nurtured, loved, and taught about Jesus. But the promise is that when "everything fell" they will be held.
I know that our Heavenly Father is not only holding little Maria, but that the entire Chapman family and friends, as well as the thousands of people, joining them in their grief, who have been touched by Steven's music, the Shaoey picture books, and the pursuit of international adoption, are HELD in His almighty hands. As God's children...members of His "forever family" we must not forget that He is our Comforter, our Prince of Peace, our Refuge, our Strength, our Ever-Present Help, and our Father, Who has loved us since before time began and Whose love is unfailing.
He is Faithful and the Chapman family, because of their faith in Him, will continue to be "oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor."
Our Heavenly Father, we thank You that we can trust that You will always hold us. Thank you for the depth of Your love for us, that the arms that hold us through our trials are the same arms that were stretched out on a rugged cross so that we might live eternally in Your presence. Lord, we pray especially for the Chapman family. Please comfort and strengthen them. Help them and hold them tightly. Please bind up their broken hearts.