Last night, Rob and I made the trek to Birmingham, AL - about 2 hours away - to see Michael W. Smith and Stephen Curtis Chapman in concert in their "United" tour. They began by doing a couple of worship songs together, then Michael left the stage for Stephen's solo portion of the concert.
He began by thanking his friends, meaning the entire audience, for our prayers and support during the difficult time his family is working through. For those of you who don't know the story, on May 21 of this year, the Chapmans tragically lost their daughter Maria Sue in a car accident. What makes the story even more horrendous and difficult is that their older son was backing out of the driveway. He did not know his sister was there. Mr. Chapman was not only open and honest about his loss, he was downright raw, saying that he wasn't sure how to perform for us when all of us knew of this loss. He didn't want to pretend it didn't happen. He expressed his brokenness, and also made a strong statement of faith. He said "I don't know much, but one thing I know with every fiber of my being is that God is faithful."
When he sang his new hit song "Cinderella," about not wanting to miss a single moment of his childrens' milestones, there was hardly a dry eye in the house. The song was written prior to the accident, but he said that many of his songs have taken on new meaning since then.
Without further ado, he finished out his set with a mixture of old and new songs - some of which I loved, and a couple of which were too loud for my more mellow tastes. Then Michael came back out and joined him for a walk down memory lane, with each performing segments of the other's earlier hits. Then Michael performed his solo set, again a mixture of old and new, loud and mellow, and finally the duo ended with a few worship songs that had all of us on our feet, hands raised to Heaven in worship of our glorious God.
Overall, we enjoyed the show. We got home quite late, almost 1am, paid and thanked the sitter, and hit the hay.
What I came away with was a deep sense of Mr. Chapman's faith, as well as having my own faith encouraged. I know that when something inexplicable happens in my life, my response to the grief is often an inability to pray. When I had a miscarriage before Grace was born, I could not even give thanks for my meals without bursting into tears. Watching this man who lost a daughter literally grieve in front of a large audience, yet express his unwavering faith in a merciful and gracious God, was incredibly moving. I pray that the Lord will continue to comfort and strengthen the Chapman family, and that He would continue to reveal Himself to all of us. May I be that faithful when trials come my way. Lord I'm not asking for trial, but when it comes, help me to be strong in You.