Our Dear Good, Kind Father,
We pray tonight for Your children Steven Curtis & Mary Beth Chapman, who never expected that Maria's 5th birthday candle would be the last she would ever blow out. Our heart breaks for them-- they knew their time with this sweet "Cinderella" was short, but not this short, and surely are reeling with grief.1 Comfort them in Your Gospel. The Cross assures us that You are no stranger to pain, and that You are able to work EVERYTHING, even an unfair torturous death of The God-Man, for the Good of Your Children. You plan EVERYTHING to make Your children more like that Firstborn Son, Jesus... even car accidents and beautiful lives abruptly cut short. Comfort them with this, Lord! Hold them close, help them "grieve with hope, say good-bye with hope, because they know their goodbye is not the end." 2
Our hearts break especially for Maria's older brother who inadvertedly hit her. God please help him to rest in the Cross, to lay all guilt at Its foot, and to rest confident in Your Love for him because of Jesus. Please do not let this tragedy split this family, with blaming or bitterness or regret so deep it cannot be comforted. Please help him to "grieve in hope," help him to carry the immense burden of guilt that he must surely carry, to the Cross, in Hope. Help his father and mother and siblings to hold him up to look at the Bronze Serpent if he lacks the strength to do it himself.
We pray for Emily, Caleb, Will Franklin, Shaohannah, and Stevey Joy, that they would see their parents grieving in Hope and that it will strengthen their own faith, or bring them to Faith if they do not have it. Lord, be the Lord of their hearts, even now. Help them to run to you as to a Loving Father who knows every pain of their hearts... please allow them to comfort one another, to grieve, and also to laugh. Keep them free from bitterness or fear. Help their parents to guide them well through this, and to testify of a grace so strong that it can sustain even during a time like this.
Please use this opportunity to advance the Glory of Your Name-- as the Chapmans are on TV and in news stories, help them to broadcast Your Sovereign Goodness. Let their very demeanors and words prove that Christ's death & ressurection really DOES transform lives; that it really DOES make God into a Rock of Refuge. Please use their story to strengthen Your Bride, the Church, and even to save those still in the Kingdom of Darkness. Advance the cause of adoption and God-glorifying-as-Sovereign music through this family, Lord. Proclaim the Ressurection's triumph through the death of this precious little girl!
We ask these things confident that You will fulfill them in accordance with Your Good Will, and will work all things to Your Own Glory and our own joy...
Because Jesus came, lived, died, and then was RAISED!
1- SCC's "Cinderella" was written about his two youngest daughters, Stevey Joy and Maria.