We Cry With Hope

May 22, 2008 — 3 Comments

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I was shocked and stunned by the following message this afternoon.

NASHVILLE, TN…5/21/08… At approximately 5pm on the afternoon of Wednesday May 21st, Maria Sue Chapman, 5 years old and the youngest daughter to Steven and Mary Beth Chapman was struck in the driveway of the Chapman home in Franklin, TN. Maria was rushed to Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital in Nashville, transported by LifeFlight, but died of her injuries there. Maria is one of the close knit family’s six children and one of their three adopted daughters.

I’ve been a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman for 18 years, and like thousands of his fans I have to ask “why?” How can God allow such a tragic accident to occur? The pain is so deep – it’s so deep for so many of his fans. I can only imagine how much deeper it is for Steven, his wife, his kids – and especially for his son. But Steven has answered the question of “why” so clearly in his song, “With Hope,” when he says:

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you’ve gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but …

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
‘Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
‘Cause we believe with hope
(There’s a place by God’s grace)
There’s a place where we’ll see your face again
We’ll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God’s plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father’s smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
‘Cause now you’re home
And now you’re free, and …

We have this hope as an anchor
‘Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so …

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

This accident was not at all how it was supposed to be in our finite plan. Yet we know that God is sovereign, and that although the pain is great, this accident was not outside of His control. We can rest assured that “all things work together for the good for those who love God and have been called according to His purpose.” Even through this tragedy, God can be and will be glorified.

I once heard an analogy of a pond that you’ve thrown a pebble into. You see all of the little circles coming from the rock, which represents your view of life. God sees all of the pebbles thrown into that pond by all people and is orchestrating each and every one for His purposes and His ultimate will. For now, we only see through a glass darkly. Someday we will see why God allowed this to happen. For now, we must rest in His arms knowing that His good and perfect will shall be done in due time.

We cry with hope because we know our goodbye is not the end for those who have put their faith in the one, true, good God who is working out His good and perfect plan even amidst such pain and suffering. Our hope is not in this world. It is in Christ, the perfect sacrifice for our imperfections, who has saved us from sin, and has made us perfect before a Holy and Just God.

I don’t know why Maria was so tragically killed in this accident. I wish with all my heart it didn’t happen. Yet I will trust in God during this time. I know the Chapmans will do the same, and I hope that you will continue to pray for them during this terrible time. I’ll end with this note from Jim Houser:

Your prayers are needed for all in the Chapman family. This is a family who has so generously loved and given to so many. Just hours before this close knit family was celebrating the engagement of the oldest daughter Emily Chapman, and were just hours away from a graduation party marking Caleb Chapman’s completion of high school. Now, they are preparing to bury a child who blew out 5 candles on a birthday cake less than 10 days ago. These words are unthinkable to type. And yet we trust in a God who was not surprised by this and because of Jesus I am certain through faith in Him we will see Maria again. – Jim Houser (Manager)

// In Memory Of Maria (2003-2008) //

Tim Sweetman

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Tim Sweetman is a young writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

3 responses to We Cry With Hope

  1. This is so sad and hard-breaking! When I read this this morning, my breath just escaped! I can’t imagine being the oldest brother and what he is feeling right now. So sad! Being the oldest of eight children, I seriously cannot imagine running over one of my siblings. The horror that stirs up inside is amazing! It would truly be the worst thing!

    It is so awesome, though, that we can cry with hope. To know that we will see little Maria in heaven again must be a great comfort!

    This was a nice article. I like how you shared the sovereignty of God through it.

    Take Care!
    Prayers and Blessings,
    Miss Amanda

  2. Aye…I heard this news within hours of its occurrence, and it is such a tragedy. I found Ted Slater’s memorial to be such a God-glorifying and comforting piece and I pray it will be so for the Chapmans. If anyone would like to have a look at it, see http://www.boundlessline.org/2008/05/little-maria-me.html

  3. Thanks for that David. Ted did a fantastic job with that. I really encourage everyone who is reading these comments to head over there to read that.

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