**You should know that I have never written anything so difficult and do not share it lightly or without tears. I certainly share it with the consent of Courtney’s mom, whose light has shined brightest in this darkest hour, as true faith always does. You’ll always be a hero of the faith in my book, Janice. Thank you for reminding us how to set our eyes on things above. Courtney always said you are the best mama, and I know she is so incredibly proud of you now.**
This spring, a friend and member of our church lost a vibrant, beautiful, 13-year-old daughter. I’ll only tell you that our church prayed. We prayed at all hours and cried out to God day and night for days on end.
God did not give us the answer we wanted.
Courtney was loved by so many, and words could never adequately describe such unspeakable loss. When someone so loved is lost, it is a difficult loss for the whole church. It is difficult to grieve, but especially to see your friends grieve like that.
Somewhere in the midst of that grieving, our pastor was describing how Courtney had planned to go on a mission trip to love on kids and share Jesus with them. I knew that Courtney had walked out the good works that God had planned for her, and now it was our turn to keep her promise. Somewhere in the midst of that hurt, “Courtney’s Promise” was born.
Yes, even in the midst of pain, you can always catch God’s hand weaving redemptive threads through the hardest parts of the story.
I sat with Courtney’s mom over dinner recently, and we talked about all that Courtney has taught us, and all that others could learn. I’ve seen her grieve, but not as those without hope. I saw her faith – possibly stronger than it’s ever been- and was humbled. We talked and I realized that Courtney left our church, the world, and all of us a little better than she found us. She modeled compassion for others. I am not sure what she is doing right now, but I picture her face lit up with joy and laughter. She finished her race and can now just enjoy the reward.
Friends, we have not finished ours.
Life is but a vapor. We can’t assume we’ll have time later. As young children, most of us believe we have a big purpose and can change the world. As adults, we usually begin to let the cares of the world push out the eternal things and mission God wants us to live out. Sometimes we become blind to eternal things as we age. We worry about our houses, our cars, our schedules, and our “things”.
Can I just tell you, that your life does have so much purpose?
This world is full of strife, pain, and hurting people. We can do something about it. Will we be like Courtney? Will we be willing to leave our comfort zone to reach those who need to be loved on and hear about Jesus?
Some will travel across the globe to carry His love to the ends of the earth.
Some of us will only need to go as far as our own backyard.
I have listened enough to tell you – the “least of these” in our backyard? They are hurting.
Will we say “yes” to whatever He asks us to do about it?
Can a disciple say anything else?
God does not need us. But He, in His mercy, has given us a chance to take part in what He is doing for our joy and our good, as well as the good of others. Don’t you ever wonder if there is more? Don’t you ever miss that fire you felt those first hours after you met Him? A wise friend recently shared that “untended fires turn to ash.” Friend, may God forbid it.
May we press in. May we rearrange our agenda in order to prioritize His.
It is our turn to run the race. Courtney’s mom shared with me the verse Courtney posted on her instagram bio. It was “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:2
Because we know that we will see her again, I’d sure like to be able to tell her that we did.