Following the heart-breaking death of their 17-year-old son in a car accident a week ago, Jamie and Scott are responding with grace, dignity, humility, strength and life-giving faith. Their daughter, Emily, is, too.
If this had happened to me, it is how I'd hope we'd respond as well.
Eight grade commencement was Wednesday; Emily and her parents attended. When we all went to lunch afterwards and then to a local park to hang out, they joined us. There's a flurry of year end sporting events, and in most instances, they're showing up to support the kids.
In the face of grief, they're continuing to live.
Again, if our family was reeling from the shock of losing one of our babies, it's how I'd hope we'd respond.
They aren't in denial; that's impossible. They're acutely aware of the pain of a shattered heart. Mysteriously strengthened by the prayers of an army, clinging to the hope in God they've always professed, they're honoring Ryan's life.
This was a kid who lived out loud :).
Our school is small, and in addition to Ryan being a student, Jamie is a teacher. Through oceans of tears, our community has spoken love with tangible sympathies of food, flowers, cards and memorials. In return, this precious family bears testimony to indescribable grace, praising God in the midst of their storm.
Understandably, many students continue to struggle. "Life is short" is no longer cliché. They question God; they question His goodness. Some are angry. Others have examined their own lives and received salvation offered through Christ's gospel–recognizing and confessing their sin; understanding their need for a savior, found in the person of Jesus; experiencing freedom from guilt and condemnation through forgiveness; believing that God loves them, has a plan for them, knows what's best for them.
Maybe they see for the first time that God intimately understands their grief…because He endured the death of His own son, too.
From a human perspective, this doesn't make sense. It's wrong. I'm still having a hard time accepting it really happened. But when I consider in the economy of God that He sees from the end to the beginning (and beginning to end)…that He lives beyond the scope of conventional time…
When I consider His words penned in Isaiah 55: 8, 9 ~
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
…I'm able to believe this tragedy can be used–is being used–for our collective good, for God's glory, and for the advance of the gospel.
Let it be.