Last Wednesday I heard the news that Will and Etta Shehee were in a tragic auto accident in Uganda where they serve. I was made aware of their serious injuries and that there were attempts being made to save the life of their precious 5 week old daughter, Lydia Rose. We immediately spread the word and joined what must have been thousands praying for this family. Lydia Rose died in Will’s arms, in his words: “like an angel.”
Two days after the accident, we started a GiveForward campaign (http://gfwd.at/1fxyVeQ) to raise the needed funds to cover their expenses. In just over two days, we raised the $70,000 goal. It was a miracle that the world-wide Body of Christ participated in.
I am in Uganda now with Will and Etta and their three children, Micaiah, Joyceanna and Levi. Yesterday I watched a loving family rally around one another. Etta’s mother has not left her side, Will’s mother has not left their children’s side. Pappa Shehee went from scanning Etta’s ex-rays to giving her a foot massage. I was reminded that FAMILY is God’s idea; it has come from His heart. God is Father, it is His core identity. And we have the joy of living it out together. Family is a miracle.
Maybe the greatest miracle that I’ve witnessed through this family is their faith. I want you to see it from Will’s own words. This is his testimony of faith and I am so proud of him. After you read this, ask Jesus to strengthen your faith.
There comes a time in every man’s life when everything he’s ever believed in is put to the test. In the fires of tragedy, what you REALLY believe about who God is comes out. There’s no more quotes, there’s no more creeds, there’s no more mental concepts – all of these get burned up in the fire. Only the raw and real remains – the truths about God and His promises that you KNOW that you KNOW that you KNOW, that no circumstance could ever call into question, the truths you would live and die for – these are the only things that will pass through the flames of adversity. And not only will they pass through fire and not get burned, but they will carry YOU through the fire, and YOU will not be burned. This is simply what the Bible calls faith. Faith is no more or no less than TRULY believing and trusting in God and His Promises. Period.
Do you KNOW that He is loving, kind, and always wants what’s best for you and those around you? Do you TRULY believe that? Or does is that merely a concept to you that you recite in creeds, but call into question every time you or someone else truly suffers? Do you truly believe that He possesses perfect wisdom in how He leads your life? Or do you think things would have turned out better if they went the way you think they should have gone? Maybe YOU know better than God. Maybe you think you’re wiser than He who knows the end from the beginning.
Can you imagine the screaming accusations that might go through a father’s mind when he watches his precious, innocent baby girl breathe her last breath? I’ve faced the trial that no man should ever have to face. I’ve passed through the fire. But I have NOT been burned. What I KNOW and BELIEVE about God and His Promises are more real to me now – having been refined by fire, having been tested and proven – than they ever have been. God IS good. God IS kind. He DOES have our best interest in mind. My Lydia will never face any suffering, she will have a childhood in Paradise. He did what was best for her. And I know, somehow, someday I will understand how He did what was best for us too. I trust Him, even when I don’t understand.
And I declare to you with all of my heart, GOD IS WISE. Although I don’t understand, although I would have done it differently, although I would have never chosen for my daughter to die after only 5 weeks of life, I know His thoughts are HIGHER than my thoughts and His ways are HIGHER than my ways. I don’t presume to know better than God. He has the vantage point of eternity. I surrender. I simply trust.
“Would I be able to make it through such a tragedy?” Many of you who have put yourselves in our shoes have been asking that question. God has given Etta and I a message. He has MADE us a message. There are a handful of truths that have carried us safely through this fire, truths birthed through 13.5 years of loving meditation upon the Word of God with prayer, fasting, and worship. Truths which God had already revealed, which He had already proven, truths in which we have developed a history with God. In fact, He’s not taught us anything NEW trough this trial, but simply opened into blossom that which already existed in bud form within the cultivated gardens of our hearts. These are the truths I am willing to live for and die for, the things that I know that I know that I know. These are my pearls.
And I feel that God has put it on my heart to share these truths with you, in hopes that you would be equipped to face your crisis when it comes, that you would have a Rock to hold on to through the hurricane. I am going to write a post about each one of these truths in turn over the next week or so. May God give you the grace to eat them, and fully digest them into the depths of your spirit. May they be a lifeline to you when you begin to sink beneath the waves.
If you would like to give towards this family’s needs, you can log onto: www.malachinetwork.org and choose Shehee from the list of missionaries.
You can also send a check with a note saying “Shehee” to:
The Malachi Network, PO Box 368, Avalon, NJ 08202