Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith, together in one concert. Now that’s a dream come true! I “grew up” in Christ on these guys’ music. We are about the same age and have experienced many of life’s milestone events around the same time. They have both been transparent in their public lives which led me to feel I "know" them in a personal way.
Saturday night, I sat in the sixth row and saw my boys up close and personal. Before the concert, my friends wondered if my fervor would warrant any embarrassment on their part. To their surprise, I was relatively quiet and self-contained. I can explain that – it’s called rapture.
Michael W. Smith recounted his trip to Colorado ten years ago in the wake of the Columbine High School shootings. It's been a while since I remembered Cassie Bernall, the young girl who was shot in the head for affirming her belief in God. Michael still sings the song he wrote about her, “This Is Your Time”.
Steven Curtis Chapman has always looked like a youth group refugee to me. The round face, blonde hair and fair complexion make me want to pinch his cheek when I see his picture. The man who stepped on stage Saturday night was not the boyish imp I have always seen. I felt shock as I realized this thin, drawn fellow with the gray goatee and thick glasses was “Little Stevie”.
Five months ago, Steven’s five-year-old daughter died after a freak accident involving her older brother and an SUV. The family has been very public with much of their grieving, saying they want to help other families enduring similar losses. So I knew a lot about their journey over the past several months. None of that prepared me for the stark stamp of grief I saw on this wonderful man’s countenance.
Yet, his message was one of hope. He shared the pain and bewilderment he and his family have felt, but that was not the end of the story. Steven spent much more time describing the comfort God has sent them. There was not a dry eye in the house as he expressed his gratitude for the letters, emails and prayers of hundreds of “strangers” who have reached out in the wake of this tragedy.
The man had changed, and so had the music. It was richer; it was deeper. It was more intensely infused with the eternal Truth that sustains each one of us, the certain knowledge that God works all things together for good to those who love Him. I already loved Steven’s new release of “Yours”. He sang that song for years but recently added a new verse to affirm his conclusions about our God. On Saturday night, I felt a great surge of hope as I SAW and believed Steven’s message that everything is under God’s control.
I leave you with Steven's lyrics and a fervent prayer they will touch any part of your own heart that is broken today. Join me in remembering that whatever situations trouble us (and we all have them), God is on His throne and mindful of every tear. God is love, and love does not disappoint.
May you feel His grace today,
I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow,
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe.
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear,
And I’ve questioned everything that I believe.
Still, even here in this great darkness,
Comfort and a hope come breaking through
As I can say, in life or death,
God, we belong to you.
The last Word:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10: 29-31, NIV.