Our Responses Matter – Part I

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.

Hebrews 13:15 (NIV)


I was driving alone this afternoon and One True God by Steven Curtis Chapman came on.  The lyrics to that song are so meaningful, I would encourage anyone to listen to it.

Then my mind started wandering to the Chapman’s personal life.  I will never forget the day I heard their life had been turned upside down.  I was pregnant with our bonus blessing, approximately 7½ years ago now, and had just met my parents at my daughter’s “Grandparent’s Day” performance (they let parents come too).  My dad greeted me with, “Maria Chapman, the adopted daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman, was killed last night… by her brother.”

I’m not sure why that particular tragedy touched me so profoundly – was it pregnancy hormones?  Was it the fact I was carrying our bonus blessing, still grieving for the child I had carried briefly but won’t meet until Jesus introduces us in Heaven?  Was it because I grew up listening to his music, attending a concert or two?  I’m not sure, but I know I grieved with them and still to this day, check in on their website and blog from time to time, especially around the anniversary of her eternal homecoming.

Hope During Heartache

So, to sit in the car and listen to the words that Steven Curtis Chapman was singing to our Father in Heaven, seven years after his world was literally turned upside down impacted me.  He was praising God for never changing.  I encourage you to look up the lyrics yourself.  But this is what struck me.

Despite the journey of grief their family walked.  Despite the pain I’m sure they still feel at the anniversary of Maria’s death… holidays… remembrance of her birthday… he chooses to sing about God’s goodness, His sovereign power, Jesus being the only way to Heaven.

It reminded me of personal friends that I have traveled difficult journeys with, either walking alongside them or praying faithfully.  One friend who currently is facing ALS with more strength than I have in my pinkie.  Another friend who is daily supporting her husband as he deals with multiple medical issues.  Abuse, financial difficulties, job situations, relationships – the difficulties are endless as we live in a fallen world.

People notice.  Christians and those who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus alike.  They take note of our reactions when life is less than perfect.  Our responses matter.

What a testimony when people like my friend or Steven Curtis Chapman or many, many others continue to praise the name of Jesus and continue to believe, “God is good, all the time.  All the time, God is good.”  Words that are lived out daily, not just spoken during a church service.

Come back next time as I continue with another side to this statement that our responses matter.  One I’m not as proud of.

© Cheri Swalwell 2016

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