Last week we were all so saddened about what happened in that tiny Texas church. It seems every day all that we see is tragedy and heartbreak, but if you watch and listen, you see God’s power and grace rise above it all. I don’t watch much of the news on TV these days. I find that the twenty-four hour news cycle has changed us as a people. It has changed our hearts and most definitely our minds because we have allowed the media to think for us. I am weary of it. I did watch a little about what was going on in Sutherland, Texas because my husband is a Texan and because the shooter was from the area where we used to live. As I watched and listened, I heard Satan at work through the all-mighty media, but then I heard the One and only All Mighty take control. The few times I watched or read about the shooting, Satan was using the media to question the power of prayer. Constantly reporters questioned prayer, or “celebrities” used Social Media to question the power of prayer or what good is prayer. Satan was making a great attempt at placing doubt in the minds of people all over the world and I am quite sure that he succeeded with some who allowed it. Then, above all the anti-prayer drone and above all the heartbreak, I heard something so beautiful. I heard the testimony of Christians. I heard testimony about God’s saving grace, about Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, about how those who were murdered in that church were now in the presence of Jesus. I heard sadness, but at the same time joy coming from family and friends, including the pastor and his wife whose fourteen year old daughter was killed. Yes, sadness about what happened, but joy in knowing where their loved ones and fellow Christians are at this very moment. As I watched I thought how many millions of people around the world saw the reactions of Christians and how God always uses tragedy to bring more people to Him.
I know there are those who say that they dislike hearing there is a reason for everything, but I am a firm believer in it. God is in control of all, the good and the bad. He allows us free choice, to go His way or not. He allows things to happen because there is a reason, He wants to draw us closer to Him, and in the end He wants us to come Home to Him. Think back about what has happened to you in your lifetime. Maybe God was calling you and you didn’t even realize it. Maybe you concentrated on what Satan was doing and not on what God was doing. It’s happened to me. It took me many years to realize that through the bad I need to concentrate on God and on what He is doing in any situation that I find myself in, what He is trying to tell me, what He is working on for myself or for someone else. I’m getting better at it, but of course will never perfect it. I am only human.
Fifteen years ago as I sat in front of my television set in Bulverde, Texas, I finally realized how true it is that things happen for a reason and that God has His mysterious ways. I was watching the show on ABC called, ‘Medical Miracles’ and a subject I know very well came on….Twin to Twin Transfusion. Our son is a surviving twin because of Twin to Twin Transfusion. In November of 1991 we were living in Durham, North Carolina and we were expecting twins and I had a pretty normal pregnancy until about my 36th week when my doctor noticed one twin was larger than the other. I was sent over to Chapel Hill to have what is called a Doppler Flow, a special ultrasound to check blood flow from the mother to baby. The first go round with the ultrasound everything looked good, and then when the doctor went back to look at Baby A, there was no heart beat. I was rushed out on a stretcher through a waiting room of pregnant women into an ambulance and over to UNC-Chapel Hill University Hospital for an emergency C-Section. All I could think about was what we were going to tell our three year old daughter who was expecting two brothers. Then all I could think about was the survival of her one brother who was fighting to hang on to life. We held our little baby who had passed on and then decided we would give him to the hospital so that they could study what had happened and maybe help others who find themselves in this situation. Phillip and I prayed and prayed. In our own little world God brought us closer to Him and closer to each other. We never questioned where God was, we never blamed Him for what had happened. I knew our little one was in the arms of Jesus with a perfect little body. There is always a reason, but our human minds are nowhere near God’s mind so we can’t always understand. It would be years later in front of that television in Bulverde, Texas that God would open my eyes to see that even in our own personal tragedy, He was at work for something even greater. We didn’t see the big picture of what God was doing some twelve years earlier at UNC-Chapel Hill, but that evening in front of the TV was my “A-ha Moment.”
“Twin to Twin” transfusion I heard the journalist say and then on that television screen was the face of the doctor from Chapel Hill who had done my Doppler Flow. She was being interviewed about the “Miracle” that she and a group of physicians had discovered on how to stop the transfusion in the womb by using a laser to cauterize the veins that join the placentas of the twins. Twin to Twin Transfusion allows one twin to overload the other with too much blood, causing heart failure or if one twin survives, it can cause severe damage to other major organs. At that moment I knew that through our tragedy God had been at work to help others. Through our little one passing on like that, there had been a reason, a bigger reason than just me.
So, now when I hear someone say, “I don’t like when people say there is a reason for bad things that happen, I don’t believe it,” I tell them my story. Maybe it will change their minds, maybe not. It is the testimony that God gave me to give. It took a dozen years after the fact for God to give me a reason. Whatever you are going through personally, whatever tragedy we see on television, look for God through the fog, listen for God through the din, go to a quiet place and seek Him out in prayer. You may get your answer to tragedy immediately. You may get the answer twelve years from now, or you may never get one at all. God is mysterious in His ways, but know He always has a reason and He is always at work for you and for me. His power and grace rises above all things, in order to bring us to Him.
Interview with Pastor Buford and his testimony after Sutherland, Texas shooting