Thursday, August 21, 2014

One Life

James Foley’s murder, Obama said, was “an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world."

Yesterday I refrained from calling Corbin at work - twice - when I felt truly nauseated with the news of Foley's death. I didn't know what to do with my shock, my grief. I'd never heard of James Foley before yesterday, had no idea the journalist had been surviving in a present-day-hell, kidnapped by Islamic militants in 2012. That this bright, courageous young American was killed in such a horrific manner, and then broadcast to all the world's unprepared viewers, is beyond what my mind can compute.

I also had no idea that western Africans were dying from Ebola, a disease I'd never heard of, until last month. But when Dr. Kent Brantley was diagnosed with Ebola on July 23rd, our family began praying. Esther scribbled "Dr. Brantley" on our kitchen dry erase board and we followed with ferver as he, along with nurse Nancy Writebol, were flown across the world from Liberia to Atlanta and cared for at Emory University. Dr. Brantly's home church is just a block south of Corbin's office here in Fort Worth, where for the last month or so the yard marquee simply asks, "Pray for Kent."

The girls and I watched Brantly's news conference this morning, and tears fell to my keyboard as Brantly - healthy and strong - praised God for His faithfulness and glory - through life or through death. We watched in fascination that through Brantly's solitary life and struggle, much of our country is now aware of the Ebola devastation in Liberia and west Africa. 

All of this on the heels of Corey Griffin, 27, who died in a Nantucket diving accident, hours after he raised $100,000 for a Lou Gehrig's disease charity in honor of his friend who inspired the ice-bucket challenge sensation. Now the challenge - which has exposed virtually everyone on Facebook or Instagram to ALS - has gone on to raise millions for this underfunded disease.

I'm touched this morning with the power of ONE life. One life sacrificed that in turn broadcasts the suffering of thousands or even millions - whether ALS or Ebola or persecution for one's faith or citizenship. 

After the horrific story about Foley broke yesterday, I woke multiple times last night, reaching for some sort of solace through praying for Foley's parents and family. I asked God to bless them with unsurpassed peace, knowing that their son's suffering and death were not in vain. Certainly, America is now more aware of this Isis terrorists crisis and made acutely aware of the Christians in recent weeks heavily persecuted, kidnapped, and killed. Foley's parents' response, as they are in deep need of hope and encouragement, is one that surprisingly encourages us - that their son's life was in God's hands, and that he is with now truly free and with the Lord.

What to do with these tragedies, these events that are beyond our comprehension? 
A reading of Isaiah 40 is a good start ~
Do you not know? Have you not heard? 
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 
He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. 
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint.
And then with the reality of God's true word, which is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, comes the reality of One Life given for all of us. A perfect, unblemished life sacrificed for you and me for all eternity. And in this crazy, upside-down world, that One Life makes all the difference.