In the aftermath of our church’s tragic bus crash this week…
I didn’t know Sarah Harmening, the sweet girl that gave her life last week. And by all accounts, my life is less rich because of it. But, when given the chance to meet with her on the other side of this life, this is what I would want her to know.
Your mission trip has just begun, and I am your flock.
My family and I had been more absent than present at church the last many months. A thousand excuses, no good reasons. I had neglected carving out specific time to spend in God’s word and in waiting for His voice.
I knew the church was sending a group to Botswana, as I had imported all of the youth activities onto my phone calendar. I am embarrassed to say that, while I saw it on my calendar, I hadn’t uttered a single prayer regarding it. I guess it was too far removed from me to even truly register.
Then the crash happened.
My phone went crazy with texts and calls making sure my kids were okay. It was then that I began to realize how many people I knew on that bus, how many of my friends’ children were involved. Suddenly it all registered in a giant way, and I fell to my knees in prayer.
And then, I “met” Sarah. Through her parents willingness to publicly speak, through them sharing her journal entry and her sisters sharing her text message, I began to feel her influence.
That young lady, in a single journal entry, expressed more active, living, trusting faith than I could have at 42. Her family, in standing, only hours after losing her, and boldly proclaiming their trust in God’s plan and their certainty in Sarah’s desire to be a part of it, even if it meant death – I began to see.
Sarah wrote about 1 Peter 5 in her last journal entry. She assumed that her “little buddies in Botswana” were the flock that she was going to shepherd. I have come to realize that I am Sarah’s flock. She has been an example to me, just as God called her to.
We serve a God that makes beauty out of ashes. The loss of this child, the injuries and wreckage from this crash, they leave so much ash. But what our Creator is doing with those ashes, much of which we can’t even yet see, beautiful.
Thank you, Sarah. Thank you for saying “here I am Lord, send me.” You thought you were going on a mission trip to Botswana, but you are on a mission trip that will reach far more people than the one you had planned on. The reach of your trip has truly just begun.
May, in the days, weeks and months ahead, we all work to #servelikesarah.