Eleven years ago today, my five-year-old niece Maria died. Many of you will recall the tragic driveway accident at the Steven Curtis Chapman residence involving my nephew, Will. It is a day none of us in the Chapman family will ever forget. I remember exactly where I was the moment I got the horrifying phone call from my sister. She was hysterical and the only thing we really understood was that my wife and I and our family needed to get to Vanderbilt immediately. It was about 5:00 in the evening. When we arrived, the hospital staff escorted us to family holding room separate from the general waiting room. That is when we knew it was bad, really bad. As more family and the closest of friends gathered, we knew the forthcoming news was what we all feared, Maria had passed away. The international outpouring of thoughts and prayers, well wishes, and yes, monetary gifts from celebrities, dignitaries, normal people, and fans; was, in a word, phenomenal.
I start with that because here we are, eleven years later. Seems like last week. A bad dream. Through that horrible tragedy, a legacy was born. An organization which was in its infancy, The Show Hope Foundation, bloomed. In Luoyang, China, a big sky-blue building with clouds painted on it (purely by an accidental mis-communication/translation) grew out of the ground and opened its doors to eight little, very sick babies a little over ten years ago. Our little baby, Fahlin, was one of those eight. And yes, irony of ironies…the very hospital where Maria was pronounced DOA, was the very same Vanderbilt that gave Fahlin life.
What a story. Tragic on the front end, hopeful on the back. Where would Fahlin be if there was no Maria’s Big House? All eight of the first eight are with their forever families, but where would those kids be if not for the big sky-blue building? It is bind-bogglingly discombobulating to try to figure out all of the weaving in and out of all the pieces that have fallen together, not by chance, but by divine, sovereign design. What Satan meant as destruction, God has turned into hope. This side of Heaven we will never, ever even come close to understanding the ‘whys?’ of why this happened, or understand how it all ties together, but rest assured, when we do finally arrive in Heaven, I am sure we will go, “Oh, THAT is why? Now, I get it!”
As God prompts and brings them to your minds and hearts, pray for the Chapmans please. For Steven, Mary Beth, Emily, Caleb, Shaoey and Stevey, and especially Will.