Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stephen Curtis Chapman and His Cinderella Gone

My heart hurts for Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman and their children - Emily, Will, Caleb, Shaoey and Stevey Joy. Their daughter and sister Maria went to live in heaven yesterday, and their hearts are raw and bleeding!

About a year ago I discovered the wonderful book Steven Curtis Chapman wrote with his friend Scotty Smith, Restoring Broken Things. I read it with my heart and was blessed more than I can say by their honesty and real faith to believe that restoration is possible for all of us who are broken (and that includes all of creation and all people everywhere)! My own brokenness drives me to Jesus and their book helps me along that path!

The scary thing about writing a book or a blog or teaching a Bible class or preaching a sermon or writing Christian songs is that sometimes God pushes us and stretches us beyond what we know by circumstances of life. God challenges us to do more than write or say truth - to really, really live truth even in the most broken times!

I'm sure the Chapman family is reeling from the same challenge today. God is calling them to really, really live truth in this most broken time! Yesterday one of the Chapman teenage sons accidently drove their SUV over his little sister Maria. Her broken body gave up its fight and she went to heaven to be with Jesus forever. That's great for Maria, but it's pretty crappy for a lot of other people who loved her who are still stuck "in restoration mode"!

Another reason my heart hurts for the Chapman family is that I came very close to living what they are living today. In September 1978 I ran over my six-year-old son. It was an accident, too. In my case God chose to leave David with us. His body, too, was broken from the Chevy Caprice that literally stopped on top of him. God was so, so good to protect our David so that this (the story of my running over him) is only one story in a long line of "adventures" he has lived and lived through! God could have chosen another ending to our story like He did for Maria yesterday.

The truth is that in both cases God is good and still the King! It's the only truth we can live in and make sense out of all the brokenness that surrounds us in this very broken world filled with very broken people!

On the cover of Restoring Broken Things, there is a picture of a broken pot and the words of Jesus: "Behold, I make ALL THINGS NEW." (Rev. 21:5) For Maria Chapman that's exactly what she is experiencing today. She is brand-spanking new in heaven with Jesus! That's pretty awesome! She is no longer broken in any way!

But for her family there is a huge hole in their hearts. I doubt Steven Curtis Chapman dreamed when he wrote the song, "Cinderella," how prophetic the lyrics would prove to be:

So I will dance with Cinderella while she is here in my arms ...
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella. I don't want to miss even one song.
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight and she'll be gone ...
And she'll be gone. She will be gone!

BUT the best news of all and the ONLY hope for the Chapman family and for all of us who are living in the midst of brokenness is that Jesus is in the business of restoration - some of it happens now and all of restoration happens someday! It's His promise to His children, and we can count on it! He promises to restore broken things forever! AND HE WILL! And, for Christians, death doesn't separate - it just delays the grand reunion someday! And that's also God's sure promise for all who love His Son Jesus!

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