I was finishing up a team building activity with my staff on Tuesday morning when my phone lit up. Text messages and phone calls started pouring in.
“Pastor Mike did you know Davey’s wife Amanda was shot!?”
I prayed with my staff and headed up to the hospital. I imagined the worst as I stepped off the elevator and made my way to the ICU.
As I walked into the room I expected the worst. As a pastor I have walked into a lot of terrible situations.
I was floored, literally tearing up with what I experienced.
Powerful, deep hope.
Not hope like I hope the doctors can fix this. It was a hope that was bigger than medicine or anything temporal. Their stability seemed to stand independent from any earthly fix and it was bold and clear. Their faith in heaven and in Christ was just as clear as the sun breaking through the clouds after a storm.
Then it hit me. Hope in Jesus stands clearest when it isn’t competing for anything else.
They had hope and it clearly wasn’t in anything like money, health, or medicine.
I could see the powerful effect of years of deep, generational spiritual formation. No one could ever be ready for this type of tragedy, but in a way, they were. Absolutely there were tears and sorrow, but there was an aura of hope that hung above it all.
When you see a family rooted so deeply in their faith standing boldly in the face of something so tragic it makes Jesus look so powerful. Not powerful because he stopped the tragedy, but powerful because of the hope he gives people through it.
I, even as a pastor, was in awe of the power of hope. After spending time with the family I walked away thinking three things.
First, the world is broken. No doubt.
Second, real faith in Christ is very powerful! I can’t underscore this enough. The greater Blackburn family is amazing! I watched Dr. Jim Blackburn (Grandpa) reassure the family and bring hope in a way I have never seen before. I pray I can be a man of hope like him one day!
Third, I pray I am giving my children a cornerstone as rock solid as that of the Blackburn family.
I am afraid popular media is missing the real main story. The truth is people die every day. Christians are even killed regularly around the world. The real story isn’t the hardship this awesome family has to face, it’s the strength that is carrying them through. That’s what is truly newsworthy. The extended family has a real faith and wow, is it powerful.
Here is how you can help.
- Share the hope, not just the tragedy. So, share this blog.
- Grow your own heart! This is one of the best books I have ever read on spiritual formation. N.T. Wright is one the the leading Christian authors alive today and this book absolutely can change your life.
As I reflect on this all I can think is how powerful Christ is as our Cornerstone. That’s the real story. I am also certain this is the story the greater Blackburn family wants to be known.
The song that rings in my spirit is one our worship leader at www.encountertrinity.com wrote awhile back.