Tuesday, June 23, 2015

to the friends and families of charleston's beloved...

i dare not pretend to know how you must be feeling.
but i do know i stand amazed at you.
as i have watched your grief, it your firm faith that leaves me speechless.
wondering, would i?  could i?

one can speak of faith all day long.
but it is only when faced with tragic circumstances that faith must speak for itself.
after all, actions speak louder than words, right?

when tragedy struck, your faith did not waiver.
each of you stand firm on the Rock on which your feet have been planted.
the waves of emotions do not sway you.
though i am certain they rock you to your core.
but your eyes remain on the One who stands in the midst of it all.

what one man intended as a war, there is but One who is victorious.
what one man meant to harm those left behind, there is but One who will work it for good.
what one man acted out of hatred, there is One whose love prevails.

the sting of death may threaten to crumble you.
but there is One who has defeated death.
and He reigns forever.

while the lips of Christ followers all over the nation and beyond are whispering the names of your loved ones in prayer.
your lips are shouting forgiveness.

face to face with the evil who took innocent lives, you forgive.
because when one is given much, much is required.
and you all understand the weight of the grace you have freely been given.
through your pain you offer the same grace to the one who took so much.

i often wonder how anyone stands in the face of tragedy without a church family.
for i am convinced they are the ones who carry you when your legs begin to buckle.
they carry the burdens.
whisper the prayers.
cook the meals.
hold your hands.
wipe your tears.
and wear out their knees.

you amaze me.
and the way you live the truth of the Gospel.
your faith speaks volumes to those who are watching.
forgiveness is not easy.
but those who follow Christ know how much we all have been forgiven.

His blood was poured out for all of us.
those who accept Him.
and those who do not.

the world can not comprehend such grace.
but you are showing them unashamed adoration for the One who saves.
and i am learning that it is never personal strength that gets you through the grief.
it is the One who catches every tear and rocks you gently in His warm embrace.

the names of charleston's beloved live on in hearts all over the world.
and because of you and your beautiful, brave grace, we learn to open our hearts.
to forgive more.
to love deeper.
to pray harder.
to praise louder.
to stand taller.
and to live more faithfully.

my heart overflows with gratitude to you.
while we may never meet, i love you beyond compare.
i pray for you and praise Him for your live-out-loud faith.
somehow thank you doesn't seem enough.

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