On Monday night, I got be a part of a club and it was awesome. Our area combined with all of the other areas in Collin County to throw the most fun club with 500 of our new friends. For the first time in a while, I wasn’t the person giving the talk, leading games or running sound. I was right there next to kids, pressed up against the stage and experiencing club with them. We screamed our lungs out and danced so hard that I was truly sore the next day. I loved experiencing something new with them and linking arms with some of my dearest friends.
That club was so special to me because, in this semester of Young Life, we have experienced really hard, difficult things. The hardest one was a car accident that took the lives of two girls from Shepton and critically injuring a third. The third is a rockstar of a girl named Kendall. Kendall and I went to Frontier Ranch together and I have experienced some great adventures with her and her sister Kaylyn. The one word that I can use to describe the swirl of emotions that I’ve felt for weeks on end is: sad. I was sad for the families, the friends and the Plano community. Even now, my heart continues to break as we mourn, and pray and support one another.
In the weeks following the accident, Kendall has made great strides in her recovery.
The days following the funeral were filled with one continual question from students and friends of the girls: Why? Thankfully, the Lord has given me a platform to address questions, fears and doubts and share the truth of God’s word. The Monday after the accident, I stood on stage at Club and explained that I didn’t know why, but I do know that there is more to the story. There is more of something that we cannot see.
We turned to scripture and talked about how Jesus met Mary and Martha both in their anger towards him and in their sadness towards their brother’s death. You see, Jesus was friends with their brother, Lazarus. So, when he found out he was sick and chose to stay where he was, the sisters were confused. When Lazarus died and Jesus wasn’t there, they were angry. They knew the power Jesus had; they knew that if he had come, he could have saved him. When Jesus did show up, Martha yelled out in anger and Mary broke down in tears. How did Jesus respond to their emotional responses? With Martha in her anger, he talked her through it and explained His purpose. With Mary in her sadness, He wept with her. All along, he knew there was more to the story. Jesus knew that they would learn to trust him in a new way through their anger and their sadness. They needed to see that Jesus was, indeed, all powerful, that he was for them and that he cared deeply about them. Jesus ultimately offers salvation in a different way: he miraculously raises Lazarus from physical and spiritual death. Why was it this way? Ultimately, God was glorified and Mary and Martha and those people learned a deeper love and a deeper understanding of who God is. It doesn’t make it easier, but it does help us understand that God is for us and with us.
I still don’t know why this accident happened. I still don’t know why it had to be this way. What I can tell you is that in the weeks following the accident, my Young Life friends have come to a deeper understanding of who God is. They have come to know the depth of His love, they have come to ask some of the hardest questions, and they have been well acquainted with grief and hurt. They have watched and experienced God in a way that has moved and transformed them, and they have been on their knees pleading for Kendall. I don’t know why it had to be this horrific, but I do know God has more to the story. I do know that there is something we cannot see and in the midst of it all He will meet us, just as he did for Mary and Martha. In this heart breaking semester, I have had a front row seat to watch him work in the dirty and messy parts of life and it has been one of the most beautiful things.
On Monday night, I danced and screamed and sang with my friends and remembered this is why we do Young Life. When life gets really, really hard, we get to enter into the muck and, for 2 hours on Monday nights, we get to scream at the top of our lungs. So, I’ll keep planning club, and figuring out the sound board that I know nothing about and getting rejected from lunch tables at the school because I’m that awkward twenty-seven year old that they don’t understand. This is worth it. When the battle is raging and the hard days are coming, I get to root myself in the grace of Christ and invite them into a relationship with Jesus Christ.