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Blog: Tom Job

A Note From Tom: October 19th, 2012

CCC Oak Ridge

Hey, everyone...

This has been a week of ups and downs.

Tina and I got to spend the beginning of the week in the shadows of the Colorado Rockies at an amazing conference for leaders of Young Life from around the world. But today we'll be at the cemetery. 

Just looking up at the Rockies on Monday and looking ahead at what later in the week had for us made me think of another day of serious ups and downs for us. We were driving through the Alps in Switzerland in 1992. When you drive from Italy to Germany through the Alps, you drive almost straight up for a long time and then you go down for a long time. So it was a day of ups and downs

It was a gorgeous, sunny day but one of the darkest we’ve ever gone through. The Alps in Switzerland are breath-taking.  And something was taking my breath, f’r sure. But it wasn’t the Alpine scenery. We were taking our older two kids, Mary and Charlie, 12 and 14, to missionary kids’ boarding school in Germany to live.  At 12 and 14! We felt led by God and all…and He had provided after tons of prayers…But it was just starting to slam into my mind what was going to be happening in the next two days. I remember when we arrived at this awesome, beautiful school in the Black Forest. We drove first to Mary’s dorm. One of the new “dorm parents” came out…”Hi, Mary! I’m going to be your new dad!” Shaking his hand, I thought, “Whoa, baby!! You couldn’t have thought for four seconds longer and come up with a better opener than that!? Didn’t you go to how-to-not-be-a-dufuss-of-a-new-dorm-parent.com? …where they teach you how to not say stupid stuff in front of sniffling, whimpering parents?!” 

On the way through the Alps that beautiful, sunny day, when the skies were bright and sunny but my heart’s forecast was “considerably cloudy and unstable,” a song came on the tape player (remember those?). It was by someone who had become my favorite musical encourager… Steven Curtis Chapman.  His songs in those days were getting me through all kinds of tough stuff! I was singing along and wasn’t really thinking about what the next song on the cassette was. But when it came on, his familiar words were like a singing prophecy from heaven directly addressed to my heart. It was a song he wrote called, “Higher Ways”

If I could only fly

I'd go up and look down from the sky

So I could see the bigger picture

And Lord if I could sit with You

At Your feet for an hour or two

I'm sure I'd ask too many questions

'Cause there's so much going on down here

That I must confess I just don't understand

 

But I have prayed

And at your feet my whole life has been laid

So I wont worry I wont be afraid

'Cause my soul is resting on Your higher ways

Let the road ahead become unclear 

I am Yours so what have I to fear

If my soul is resting on Your higher ways

 

Your higher ways teach me to trust You

Your higher ways are not like mine

Your higher ways are the ways of the Father

Hiding His children in His love

 

So let it rain

And if my eyes grow dim with tears of pain

This hope I have will not be washed away

'Cause my soul is resting on Your higher ways

 

Maybe then You will take me aside 

And show me the bigger picture

But until I'm with You 

I'll be here with a heart that is true

And a soul that's resting on

Your higher ways

 

I probably shouldn’t have been driving in that moment because I didn’t have wind shield wipers for my eyeballs. Couldn’t really let the kids know I was up there in the front seat about to totally lose it! I couldn’t get my breath…and it wasn’t because we were at about 13000 feet of altitude…Silently sobbing to myself and feeling like I needed to pull over…I was wondering why we were being led down this family  path. But…

 

 “Your higher ways teach me to trust You

Your higher ways are not like mine

Your higher ways are the ways of the Father

Hiding His children in His love”

 

As many of you know, the Steven Curtis Chapman family lost their sweet five-year old adopted daughter, Maria in an accident in their driveway a few years ago. Little Maria was born in China and became the Chapman’s third adopted child. The five-time Grammy award winner and his wife, Mary Beth have been humongous advocates for adoption of orphans left alone in the world. They have three natural kids and three adopted Chinese kids. Mary Beth said once, “There may or may not be issues ahead for us. But even if Shaoey turns 16 and says, 'I hate you, I'm going back to China,' I know God put Shaoey in our lives; God put Stevey Joy here, and God put Maria here. Whether it's all peaches-and-cream or it's miserable, this is God's work."

I remember how my heart was so broken for them. I can’t ever thank God enough for how much that guy has encouraged me in my darkest times. I wished there was something I could do…

Just like all of our hearts are all broken for Jen, Patty, Tim, Haylee, and Rick this week. I could never thank God enough for how much Tim and Patty have encouraged us all with all they do for Triple C! How we all wish there was something we could do.

All we can do (and have done!) is lift their precious family up to the throne and pray that God will give them the strength of heart to have a “soul that is resting on Your higher ways”.

Hug your kids today. Tell them you love them. Tell people you love, that you do love them. 

Lift up the broken hearted.

And no matter what happens today, decide in your heart that, with God’s help, you will trust in "His higher ways".