Wednesday, May 21, 2008

...please pray for Steven and his entire family

"there is no pit so deep
where God's love is not deeper still"
-Elizabeth ten Boom-

I had the chance to see the Chapman's briefly this evening at the visitation held at Christ Presbyterian Church. The turn out of friends and visitors was so tremendous and encouraging. As you can imagine, they are deeply hurting, emotionally weary, grief-stricken, devastated. But yet through it all, they are trusting in the Lord profoundly during these days of great sorrow.

Their number one request was for prayer for their teenage son who was involved in this tragic accident. Please pray for God's sustaining and forgiving grace to be lavished upon him.  He is a dear young man. It was good to see him and gently affirm our love and prayers for him.

The memorial service is scheduled tomorrow morning [Saturday] at 11:00am CST.  May the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel be made much of during this service.

In the Living Hope of the Resurrection,

I received the heart-wrenching news a few hours ago this evening [Wednesday,  March 21] of the unfortunate and tragic death of Steven's youngest child, adopted daughter Maria.

I had just seen Steven a few days ago at a local coffee shop not far from our respective homes. Oh how our lives can be so unexpectedly and radically changed in just an instant. Please pray, beloved, for this dear family that the Lord would comfort them and grant them the grace needed to endure in this time of great loss.

For those of you who have lost loved ones as I have, it is in these shattering moments, and by the tender mercy of God through the Holy Spirit, that we press into our Lord Jesus and find our strength and refuge beyond the scalding tears and questioning hearts. And as a step of faith, as Christians, we say with heavenly understood sorrow from the depth of our aching being in the midnight hour: "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away; but blessed be the name of the Lord."  And then one day, as we continue to walk down the Narrow Road by His grace, Jesus will meet us; and turns our broken hearts into burning hearts.  And right there in the black hole of our suffering and grief we will sing again, if only in a holy whisper, It Is Well With My Soul.

But not yet, not yet...

"Dear Lord Jesus, please grant my brother in Christ and his entire family the grace and mercy they so deeply need this very hour."

In His Unfailing Love,
1 Cor. 15:1-4

The details of this accident follow below:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 5-year-old daughter of contemporary Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman was struck and killed Wednesday by a sport utility vehicle driven by her brother, authorities said.

The girl, Maria, was hit in a driveway on the family residence Wednesday afternoon by a Toyota Land Cruiser driven by her teenage brother, said Laura McPherson, a spokesman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

McPherson said no charges are expected.

"It looks like a tragic accident," she said.

She said several members of the Chapman family witnessed the accident, which happened in Williamson County just south of Nashville.

The brother apparently did not see the little girl, McPherson said. She did not have the name or exact age of the brother, only that he is an older teenager.

The girl died later at Vanderbilt Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Laurie Holloway said.

Chapman, originally from Paducah, Ky., and his wife have promoted international adoption and have three daughters from China, including Maria.

Chapman has won five Grammy awards and 51 Dove awards from the Gospel Music Association.

The singer's Web site said that Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, were persuaded by their oldest daughter to adopt a girl from China. The experience led the family to adopt two more children and create Shaohannah's Hope, a foundation and ministry to financially assist thousands of couples in adoption.

The Chapmans did missionary work at Chinese orphanages in 2006 and 2007, according to the Web site.
"After our first trip to China, my wife and I knew our lives were changing — our eyes and hearts were opening to how big God really is, and we have wanted to experience more of that," Chapman says on the Web site. "We've really wondered whether or not we should just go to China and stay there. But I don't think so. I believe God is saying, 'I want you to go, get your heart broken, your eyes opened, and then take this story back to the church in America and around the world."'
Chapman also has released a book about being a father entitled "Cinderella: The Love of Daddy and his Princess."


Wm Mallory said...

These things are so difficult. My family and I will be in prayer for Steven, his son and his entire family. I pray God would continue to grant them Grace, Mercy and Peace. That can only come from him.

Tonight, I weep for our dear brother.


SJ Camp said...

I am weeping with you brother Bill. So very tragic.


KarensFaith said...

This is so sad. My daughter just came in and told me a little while ago. He and his family are in my prayers--and a special prayer for her brother. I am weeping too.


Blessed said...

We just heard Steven singing in our church in Shanghai, China 2 Sunday ago. I have a 5 year old daughter also, and my heart cries for the family. May the Lord peace and comfort be upon each one if the family.

Douglas said...

Very sad.

Douglas and Anne

Prayer for a time of bereavement

(John MacDuff, "Family Prayers" 1885)

The desire of our eyes has been taken away by a stroke! The shadows of death have unexpectedly fallen around us! Oh forbid that we should rebel under the rod, and refuse to be comforted. Let us glorify You "in the fires!" Let us feel that if we are Your children, there is not a drop of wrath, in that cup of sorrow; but all is love, infinite love! We would see no hand but Yours. You gave us our blessings--and You have a supreme and inalienable right to take them away! "Even so, Father, for it seems good in Your sight."

O Lord God Almighty, though Your way may sometimes seem to be in the sea, and Your path in the deep waters, and Your judgments unsearchable--yet nothing can happen by accident or chance. All is the unerring dictate of Your infinite wisdom and unchanging faithfulness and love. "This also comes from the Lord Almighty," who is ever "excellent in working." Often we cannot discern, through our tears, the rectitude and love of Your afflictive dispensations. Often are we led to say, with trembling hearts, "Truly, You are a God who hides Yourself." But all is well. We could not wish our concerns in better hands, than in Yours.

You cannot send one trial that is unnecessary, or light one spark in the furnace that might be spared. We will be silent, we will not open our mouths, because You are the one who has done this! Man may err, and has often erred. But, O unerring God--the Judge of all the earth must do right! We would seek to lie submissive at Your feet, and say in unmurmuring resignation, "May Your will be done."

Our earnest prayer, blessed God, is, that this severe trial may be sanctified to us all. We have need of such a blow--to remind us that this earth is not our rest. We were leaning on the creature--we were disowning and undeifying the Great Creator. You would not leave us to ourselves, to settle on our lees. You saw the need of Fatherly chastisement, to bring back our alien and truant hearts to Yourself. Oh, may we listen to our Father's voice. May we feel it to be a loud voice, and yet full of gentle tenderness. May it rouse within each of us the question, "What will You have me to do?" May we "arise and call upon our God!" Thus may this very affliction, which, for the present, seems not to be joyous but grievous, nevertheless afterward yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

Let us hear Jesus' voice of encouragement and love, sounding amid the stillness of the death-chamber, and from the depths of the sepulcher, "Don't be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one who died. Look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave!"

O Helper of the helpless, Comforter of all who are cast down, better and dearer than the dearest and best of earthly relatives--give us that grace which You have promised specially in seasons of weakness. May we realize the truth of Your own precious promise, "As your day--so shall your strength be."

May this thought reconcile us to bear all and suffer all--that we shall soon be done with this present evil world--and be with our God, and that forever and ever! Hide us meanwhile, in the clefts of the Smitten Rock, until this and all other of earth's calamities are over and past. May we trust Your heart--where we cannot trace Your hand! We wait patiently for the great day of disclosures, when all shall be revealed; and all be found redounding to the praise and the glory of Your great name!

Hear us, blessed God. All that we ask, is for the sake of Your dear Son--our only Lord and Savior. Amen.

Michele Rayburn said...

We are so very sorry to hear this. Our hearts just go out to Steven and his family, and our prayers are with them. May the Lord comfort them with His love and give them peace.

We send them our love.

Michele, Terry and Michael

donsands said...

There are no words. I am overwhelmed.
Thanks for being a good brother in Christ to the Steven and the Chapman family Campi.
I'm praying.

StoneCreek said...

Good to see you this morning.

My continued prayers will be for the Chapman's during this time of great loss as well. May the Lord comfort their son especially.


Steven & Faith Long said...

My 5 yr old son Eliab is so precious to me. I can't even begin to imagine how Steven must be feeling right now.

Gen 28:15-And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places wither thou goest, and will bring thee again unto this land; for I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

God grant His loving mercy and much grace to the Chapman family.

ostrakinos said...

As a father of four daughters my heart dropped when I heard about this accident.

My prayers are with them.

I can't wait till the consummation where the Lord will wipe away all tears.

littlegal_66 said...

I received this news last night as well, just after helping my own youngest dry himself after his bath…….I can’t begin to imagine….my heart is grieving for the entire Chapman family.

Thank you for posting this, Steve. Steven has always been so compassionate to others in circumstances such as this…..and now we as the body have an opportunity to show that same compassion to him and his family…..thanks for helping to make more folks aware of this tragic event; I know that we will all unite together in prayer for them during this time and the weeks and months to follow.


SJ Camp said...

To All
Incidents like this one soften my heart again to the reality of the hope of the gospel; and the promise of a City where there will be no more suffering, no more pain, no more tragedies, no more tears.

One day beloved, one day we will be home with the Lord. Bur for now, "for me to live is Christ..."


Alice said...

This breaks my heart--I heard about it earlier this morning. I've been praying throughout the day for the family, and in particular, the teenage brother.

Debbie said...

Suddenly, this beautiful spring day seems so sad and grey ... I just ache for them, even as I pray for them and I can't help but hug my girls just a little tighter.

The Spokesman said...

Praying for the Chapman family. I couldn't help but think of Horatio G. Spafford who lost his family, except his wife, on November 22, 1873 as the Ville du Havre collided with another ship and sank. Later when Spafford, en route to join his wife in Wales, passed by the spot believed to be the place where the Ville du Havre went down, said to himself, "It is well; the will of God be done." He later wrote his famous hymn based on those words - It Is Well with My Soul.

May the Lord do the same for the Chapman family.

John said...

I thought of the prayer out of Valley of Vision, "I need spiritual comforts that are gentle, peaceful, mild, refreshing, that will melt me into conscious lowliness before thee, that will make me feel and rest in thee as my all.
Fill the garden of my soul with the wind of love, that the scents of the Christian life may be wafted to others; then come and gather fruits to thy glory. So shall I fulfill the great end of my being--to glorify thee and be a blessing to men." (325)

Steve I pray you can be a scent of Christian life to our brother as you minister to him and help bring comfort to him that is gentle, peaceful, mild, and refreshing.

Wow, it just makes me want to go home and hug my babies and not let go.

SJ Camp said...

Wonderful. I have added a link to that hymn in the main post. Thank you brother.

Amazing prayer! Very timely. It ministered to my weary heart today as well.

Just to clarify your kind words, I am not directly ministering to Steven today. But I have left him a few messages of encouragement. Hopefully in the days to come we will have some good seasons of prayer together. This is going to take some time. But he has some really good men around him right now that are dear friends of mine as well.

Psalm 139

Lisa Nunley said...

"It is Well" is the same hymn that my mind immediately and continually reflected upon as soon as I found out about this tragedy. No... not yet perhaps, but truly the Lord, in His perfect goodness will restore such a peace in the midst of this raging storm and some day they will be able to sing those words in relation to this painfully unfathomable trial.

My heart especially goes out to their teen son.

SJ Camp said...

My heart especially goes out to their teen son.

That is who we all need to be praying for these next several days. I can't imagine the pain, loneliness and fear he is flooded with these past 24 hours.

Psalm 37

R W S said...

I couldn't agree more that although all need our prayers , Steven's son needs our prayers in a powerful way. May godly men and women surround this young man and have ears to listen , wisdom to speak and hands and arms to hold him so that he may be upheld in the love of Christ. His heart and soul must be in a very dark place but Christ can and will give this young man light. I truly weep with this family.

reformedmomof6 said...

A comforting thought in time of affliction:

Jesus said, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." {John 16:33)

What is amazing to me is that in Jesus deepest hour of affliction, He was left alone - forsaken by everyone - including His Father. Yet, He tells us that He will never leave or forsake us. How great is our God, that He has given us brothers and sisters in Christ to comfort us in our trials and tribulations in addition to His all-encompassing comfort.

Thank you, Steve, for the link to Maria's special blog. There are so many kind and comforting words to view there.


The Lords grace be unto you and may His grace be sufficient as we are promised, I know it is a hard time just now.
My husband and I will be praying for you and your family.
We who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will be with you soon Maria. We thank our Sovereign God for allowing you to bless us for this short time.

SJ Camp said...

That is a great truth; His constant presence in our lives is so comforting during these times of great trial.

Psalm 23,

SJ Camp said...

May godly men and women surround this young man and have ears to listen , wisdom to speak and hands and arms to hold him so that he may be upheld in the love of Christ.


Debbie said...

John said, "I thought of the prayer out of Valley of Vision ..."

Though it seems the Chapmans have been on mind continuously the last couple of days, I must be honest -- I've had a difficult time finding the words to pray for them. The nature of this tragedy just seems too much.

So, I got my copy of "The Valley of Vision" off the shelf and have found some beautiful prayers that give words to my struggling thoughts.

Thank you, John, for sharing this with us.


SJ Camp said...

I understand. Some tragedies are too much for us to get our minds and hearts around, aren't they?

This is one of them.

The Valley of Vision is a tremendous source of encouragement during these days of deep anguish and grief that we all feel for the Chapman family. And I know why; those prayers, for the most part, were born out of tremendous testing and trial. And they resonate with us when we are in the crucible of grace too.

Col. 1:9-14

StoneCreek said...

What a sensitive and comforting post on this tragic accident.

Prayer can do much and this is a day we should all be praying for the Chapman family.

This lyric came to mind this morning:

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.


littlegal_66 said...

While we’re quoting lyrics, consider these that have greatly ministered to me through some tough times (which I think may have been written just after 9/11; is that correct, Campi?)

From “EVERY SPARROW” by Steve Camp

“The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking;
The Lord is near those whose world has been torn in two.
Though we’re hurting, we’re never forsaken;
We need a healing__that only God can do.”

Only Look said...

Yes, he will wipe away every tear from our eyes.

SJ Camp said...

I went to the visitation service this evening and saw Steven and his family. They are weary and devastated, but trusting in the Lord through it all.

They are asking for prayer for their son Will who was driving the car that hit his younger sister. He needs to know if God's sustaining grace and forgiveness.

Lift him up beloved.
Psalm 37

KarensFaith said...

Thank you for the update. I am keeping them all in prayer, especially this young man.


Wm Mallory said...

Yes, thank you for the update. We will continue in prayer here, especially for Will. It is good to know that they have good (men)council surrounding the family right now.

We also pray, as you do Steve, that the "Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel be made much of during tommarrws service." And that lost people will have ears to hear.


Carla said...

We don't know the Chapman family personally, but our children are the same ages and I can only imagine the heartache, the shock and the pain they're all feeling right now.

It's been hard to focus on much else since I heard this news Wednesday night. It's been a heartbreaking and jolting reminder of what matters most.

We'll be keeping them all in prayer, for a long time to come.

SJ Camp said...

Karen, WM, and Carla:
Amen to all your thoughts expressed.

During these arduous seasons of the soul, it is God's specific grace given to us as believers that enables us to handle and continue to trust Him through the "earth-shattering things" of this life (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

What a wonderful Savior we serve. May He be glorified today...

Alice said...

Thank you for the update. I have been praying for the Chapman family and especially their son and will continue to--especially during the service today.

Last night on my way home from work I was listening several times to a hymn that has comforted me often, "Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus"--there is a line in it that I especially love "How He watches o'er His loved ones, died to call them all His own." It reminded me of Psalm 116:15, which sustained me during the death of a dear friend of mine: "His loved ones are very precious to Him, and He does not lightly let them die."

Wm Mallory said...


Wonderful thoughts you shared, just wanted you to know that they were a blessing to me as I read them! His love for His people is eternal...What a comfort.

staceyj said...

How my husband and I have been praying for the Chapman family. We lost our little daughter, Abigail, almost ten years ago and the hole in our family will forever be there. Right now, we weep with those who weep and cling to the reminder, as SCC sings, that "we are not home yet." We also bring their son before our merciful Lord often - that he will know the forgiveness and peace of the Lord Jesus as he journeys through this deep pain.

silly old nana said...

Thanks, Steve,(and others) for the comments to minister to the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is doing a tremendous work of making us one in spirit and purpose as we cover this family in prayer 24/7. Our Heavenly Father cares more than we can ever imagine for every tear shed on this side of heaven. I think of the many orphans who have no one to hold them close. May many Christians open up their hearts and homes to these little ones, as this precious family has done.

May there be many who come to know our Lord Jesus Christ through this family's grief and loss.

My heart is heavy for this family, and others who have lost children.

Kirby said...

I cannot help but feel that God's purposes here are centered on the young boy.

He put him in the place of Abraham, but this time, he didn't stay his hand right at the last moment. This time, he required the sacrifice.

God's ways are not our ways, and perhaps that was the lesson here.

But I have great confidence that having asked of this young boy such a great sacrifice - a sacrifice perhaps greater than that of Abraham, that God is very active in the midst of this, and especially in the life of this young boy.

If I could offer any word of comfort to this young man it would simply be this: "Don't think for a moment that God did not know this was going to happen. He intends something for you, and if the sacrifice is any indication, it is something for a very great good. You should be looking for this. Your father weeps tears of sadness for her, but he also weeps tears of love and forgiveness on you. He hopes that from the seeds of this agony, the fruitage of joy will break forth on your brow, and that you will rise up to the occasion and the works that God has ordained for you, to do great good. Maria laughs, now, with an eternal laughter. She laughs from the depths of her new heart, and delights all the day in the Lord her God, and God is pleased with her, for of such as hers is the kingdom of Heaven. Weep not for her. Weep for your father, and your mother, and also for yourself for a while, and then rise up, and go to that work that God has set before you. It's now a work that only you can do. And none of us can even begin to guess how much good fruit you are going to bear on account of this. Like as to Nehemiah, 'God still turns curses into blessings.' Blessings not just for you, or others who know you, but to Maria, and to your father and mother, and everyone you know or will ever meet, for the rest of your life. God has just put you on the fast track to godly manhood. I pray you the strength to walk in it."

SJ Camp said...

It is difficult in times like these to keep the eternal in mind when what has happened now is so weighty and so profound.

But God will receive the glory and is doing great things even in the midst of this tragedy... isn't He?

The memorial service yesterday was very meaningful and tender. Great stories of remembrance shared by the family; good worship and some encouraging thoughts expressed from God's Word as well.

A bruised reed He will not break and a smoldering wick He will not extinguish. The awesome God of the universe is a gentle Savior and Lord as well.

Soli Deo Gloria,

fairy said...

you took a life so you serve your life as payment for her. There is no short cut way out of this. If all your religious supporters feel sorry for you, then I wonder what crimes people have committed and say to themselves it is ok, it was an accident. You need to go to jail and learn about the consequences of your stupidity. Your parents missionary work and generosity does not give them a free pass to the law when someone dies. You all need to be fair and send him to JAIL!!!