LISA BEAMER: FAITH IN TRAGEDY
In her book, "Let’s Roll" she explains how she was reared in a loving home where the Lord was honored. She goes on to record: "On October 25, 1984, pain seared through his chest and everyone thought he was having a heart attack. The next morning at 5:00 a.m. the doctor called Mom to tell her that Dad had suffered an aortic aneurysm. A small hole had developed in the wall of his aorta...It had to be repaired immediately.
Mom explained to Paul, Holly and me that the hospital had called and the doctors were going to do emergency surgery. "They’re going to move Daddy to another hospital," Mom said. "We need to pray." At 6:30 a.m. we were in the process of praying when the phone rang again. Mom left the room to answer it. When she came back, she blurted through her tears, "They tried to move Dad, but it was too late. He died."
In that instant my world fell apart. I wasn’t ready for this. I was 15; I felt cheated. Dad was our foundation, the rock we all depended on. Now he had been ripped out of our lives!
In Lisa’s description of her struggle with her father’s sudden death, we see a haunting preview of Sept. 11th. She said "My faith in God was severely shaken." Questions pummeled my heart and mind...
Life went from wonderful to a sense of great vulnerability. Yes, we had our faith and believed solidly that God had everything under His control, but the hole in our family was real..."
Yes, she had faith in a sovereign God, but the hole in her family was real... She said "Despite our faith, sometimes life just hurts." She recalls the promise God made through the prophet Jeremiah: Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (future and a hope ESV).
She shares a conversation she had with Dennis Massaro, the director of Wheaton College’s Office of Christian Outreach. The subject of the upcoming trial for the malpractice suit came up...she immediately dumped her story of her father’s death on Dennis. Dennis kindly responded, "You know, Lisa, God knew the hospital they took your dad to wasn’t going to have the right equipment to perform the surgery. At any time, God could have changed the circumstances."
He continued, "Knowing what the consequences were going to be for your family and for you, he nonetheless allowed it to happen. Maybe it’s time for you to accept that."
She said his gentle words were a targeted arrow in my heart. I knew he was right. And at the same time I both loved and hated him for telling me the truth. But the truth set me free. A thought struck me. "Who are you to question God and say that you have a better plan than He does? You don’t have the same wisdom and knowledge that He has, or the understanding of the big picture. You think you deserve a happy life and get angry when it doesn’t always happen like that. In fact, you are a sinner and only deserve death.
"All at once I was caught in a dichotomy: I know I’m really important to God, and He truly loves me. Yet at the same time, I’m a mere mortal with limited understanding. Who am I to question Him? It was then I made a conscious decision to stop questioning God and start trusting Him.
"That brief conversation with Dennis Massaro would become one of the most significant in my life, replaying in my mind over and over in the years—-and the tragedy—-to come.
And so, the loss of a 15-year-old's beloved father and the struggles of the young collegian show how a loving Heavenly Father was preparing a woman of God to face an even greater challenge-—this time, in the spotlight of history.
Lisa Beamer learned through fiery trials to trust Christ. And so must you! She learned to lean on Christ in times of extreme suffering. So must you! She learned that today’s trials prepare one for tomorrow’s spiritual victories.
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