By Mary Faulds, AFA Journal staff writer
September 2009 – Seldom does a journalist get to write about why a certain article was written or how the idea came about. Even rarer still, is the opportunity to share how our work impacts our lives. For me, this is one of those rare moments.
God works in mysterious ways. I’ve heard that saying so many times that it is pretty cliché to me. However, God does work in divine, unknowable, amazing ways. His work on this earth is an amazing tapestry. We only see our little part of it, but the complete work is perfect and beautiful and mysterious.
A few months ago, I was listening to a CD in my car on the way to work. It was the third City on a Hill project, The Gathering. One song, called “Holy is the Lord,” is about Abraham talking with God about His command to sacrifice Isaac. I have a two-year-old son myself and suddenly I was hit with the thought, “What if God asked me to sacrifice my son? What if I had to actually go through with it? What if there were no ram?”
That made me think, “There probably are people who have lost a child while serving the Lord, maybe on the mission field.” So after getting the green light from Randall, our editor, I began sending blind e-mails to mission boards asking for help.
A few weeks later, I received an e-mail from Macon Hare Jr. He and his family are this month’s story found here. What I didn’t know while I was gathering this material was that the Lord was preparing my heart and my life for tragedy.
On Friday, July 17, I finished the Hare family’s account of the loss of their little girl. I was particularly touched by the letter that the mother, Genny, had written. Her faith made me pause in my writing and think, “Would I be able to thank God after my child died? Would I even be able to function?” Well, God knows our hearts and won’t give us more than we can handle only because He’s working to prepare us for it.
Eric, my husband, co-hosts AFA’s American Family Radio morning show with J.J. Jasper, a well-known and much loved on-air personality. So when we got a call that J.J. had been in an accident with his son on a go-cart, Eric rushed to the hospital. He hadn’t been gone 10 minutes when he called me, saying J.J.’s little boy, five-year-old Cooper, had died.
Sunday afternoon, J.J. and his wife, Melanie, and their daughters met and wept with many at Cooper’s visitation. Eric and I stayed to the sidelines, just being there for support. Sitting there, I remembered the story I had been working on Friday afternoon. I remembered Genny Hare’s letter. God was showing me in real life, real time, what it means to really lean on Him.
At Cooper’s funeral, the songs, though tinged with grief, brought praise to our gracious Lord. I looked over and saw J.J. and Melanie, their hands raised, thanking the Lord for who He is and the time spent with their little boy.
“Things like this never make sense,” my mom told me when I called her that weekend, “but when they happen, and we get through them, it’s then that people can see that it was only the Lord’s strength that held us.”
I’ve seen that strength with my own eyes. I’ve seen how someone can tell the Lord “Thank you” in the midst of their tears and pain. I’ve seen the face of faith in the lives of my friends.