Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I've been thinking about God's providence over the past day or so, primarily because of news of sadness. Last week we learned that missionary friends of ours from China are facing what appears to be the inevitable death of their child (Isaac Paul Burgess) due to severe complications. Cathy already lost a child two years ago when my wife and I were pregnant with our first child. I can't imagine the sadness that they feel during these days.

On Monday morning I received an email from our church pianist. It was basically a "good-bye" to those who love her. Lori has been battling cancer for over a year. My grandfather died of cancer. I hate cancer. Later that morning I received news that the young lady (Leah Walls) who designed our church logo and the student ministry logo here at Concord was killed, along with her husband and two children (Miller, 6, and Mallory, 4) in Phoenix, Arizona. A 29 year-old man plowed into the backend of their Mazda SUV at approximately 65 mph while the family was waiting at a traffic light at the end of an exit ramp. How does someone who has over 300 feet of clearance not see a stationary vehicle and red light? He was sober. He just didn't see them. How does this happen? Why does this happen?

I don't have all the answers about why children are born with birth defects, why young women die of cancer, and why a family of four is instantly killed? But I am comforted by God's provision and how he handles even the smallest of details in our tragedy.

A week before Chris, Leah, Miller and Mallory Walls were killed a man from their home church in Alabama entered the pastor's office and donated four cemetery plots to the church. The pastor had no idea what he was going to do with four burial plots. What would you do with them? It seems like the most ridiculous of donations. And yet, here, one week later, the bodies of the Walls' family will be laid to rest in those four burial plots at Chris and Leah Walls home church in south Alabama, the same cemetery where Chris Walls father is buried.

You may be asking, "What comfort is there in that?" It is amazing that God, in His sovereign care, would arrange the burial details of the Walls family. It may seem like a small thing, but it is no small thing when you consider the weight of the grief that this family is enduring during these days. I can't imagine what it would be like to bury one person I loved, much less four at one time. God provided a place of rest for the bodies of these four souls. Chris and Leah were believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is likely that Miller and Mallory were too young to even comprehend the Gospel. At the resurrection of the dead this family will be reunited with their bodies, back at the very place where God provided a place for their flesh and bones to lie in state, and they will meet the Son of God Jesus Christ in the air!

For the LORD himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel,
and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive,
who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the LORD of the air, and so we
will always be with the LORD. Therefore, encourage one another with these words (1Thess 4:16-18)

Sometimes the enormous sadness and despair we feel in life blinds us to God's hand at work all around us. Many people would see the donation of four burial plots as a mere coincidence. I choose to see it as evidence of God's care for His children, that even in the overwhelming sorrow of the loss of life, God is at work to point our attention to His goodness, even as we cry out in anguish against our enemy, Death. Thanks be to God for the undeniable reality that Jesus Christ is alive, that He has dealt death a mortal wound, and that one day death shall be no more and those who are His by faith will reign with the Son of God Jesus Christ for all eternity.


At 10:32 PM , Blogger r a i n e r said...

I'm so sorry to hear all of that. What words are there to say besides the beautiful truths in the Word you so clearly pointed to? I'm glad you'll be writing from time to time.


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