Mike Cope's blog

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Thanks to Matt Ritchie for these words he wrote this morning on his blog: A little over two hours ago, we put Levi, our oldest son, on a van that was headed to Houston for a youth mission trip. After January's accident, I don't think that I will ever take for granted that - when I send my kids away on a trip - they are guaranteed to come back in one piece. It was tough watching them drive away, and Sheila didn't even go. She was afraid that if she got upset, it would make it difficult for Levi to leave. I'm glad I got to go, though, because I witnessed something amazing this morning. Mike and Diane Cope's son, Chris, who was seriously injured in the January accident, climbed right into the same van with Levi, while his parents anxiously watched from a few feet away. Whatever Sheila and I are going through, it must be infinitely worse for these guys. It was hard. We tried not to fixate on exactly where in the van he sat. I went home for a while and was fine. A buddy who's an elder, probably knowing we'd be fear-full, came over for a while. Then I came to the church building for a while. And that's when fear started to grip me. But about 10:00 it lifted. I quit praying just for a safe trip. Somehow, a spirit of courage took over. I began praying about this trip to inner city Houston, remembering that three high school boys on graduation Sunday named it as one of the most formative parts of their spiritual journey. (That means it stuck with them five years -- which at that age is like a couple decades at mine!) I've been praying now that God would use them to minister for Jesus; that God would open their eyes to see a world that isn't safe and comfortable; that God would form my younger son to have the kind of heart for the downtrodden and poor that his older brother and sister-in-law have. Even as we watched the vans drive off, we received word that another Abilene kid Chris's age -- a kid I've coached in basketball, a great kid with a smile that would light up the room -- was killed last night. What I've heard is that he was out of town visiting his dad. Great sadness.


  • Wow. As a parent I'd like to be able to shelter and protect my children from harm of any sort. I know it's impossible and really not healthy. Harm comes to us all at some time or another, and that's where our loving parent, God, steps in and provides comfort,healing, and reassurance that we are never alone and the story isn't over yet.

    Interesting choice of words "fear started to grip me". It starts as a grip, strong and hard to pull away from. It's hard to not let it overwhelm and control you. I'm glad yours lifted, Mike. I hope Diane's does as well. Your family continues to be in our prayers.

    My friend Kent just returned from language school in Guatemala. He blogged occasionally so we could keep up with his experiences. I'll bet you could squeeze it in to keep us posted too. :)

    By Blogger Niki, at 6/11/2005 09:42:00 AM  

  • Mike and Diane,

    I am so very proud of both of you, and both Bret and Jennifer Bourland, for this week has brought courageous and brave acts of trust! I know my dad was very cognizent of the fact that this was the first trip since Winterfest. Please know that although fervent prayer does not garauntee safe travel, Chris and the other 24 young men have been bathed in prayer in the Cunningham family! God is in control and I know he will use Chris and the others as mighty instruments of his grace. I love you both so much! Be blessed.

    By Blogger Lauren, at 6/11/2005 10:33:00 AM  

  • Lauren -

    Here's the honest truth. When I saw your dad climb in the car my son was in, I couldn't have been happier. He's one of those shepherds who makes me feel protected by love and truth.

    Chris didn't yet know that his friend died in a car accident last night (because we found out as they were leaving). But I'm thankful to know that as he finds out from the other boys, your dad will be there to help him and the others process it.

    By Blogger Mike, at 6/11/2005 11:09:00 AM  

  • Isn't it amazing how God uses others to comfort us in our times of need? I know in the years when my 3 sons were living at home and traveling on various school and church trips, I was worried too. On one morning as my 14 and 16 year old sons were flying to Hawaii, on different airplanes, with the school band, I was gripped with fear too. I prayed hard for most of the morning, then as if the Holy Spirit gripped me, I was at peace.
    I live in the Houston area and my boys have also participated in that inner city mission work. It is a great work. The teens learn and grow so much. You will be so glad that Chris went.

    By Blogger ML, at 6/11/2005 09:24:00 PM  

  • Here's what I wrestle with: If we pray out of faith, and expect that God will in turn be faithful, what do we do with the knowledge that He might not provide what we've asked for...

    I know He is always faithful - He's God. So what happens when we fervently pray for safety for our family and it seems that God backs out of the deal?

    That part doesn't seem faithful but it has to be, remember, He's God. What do we do with that and how do we continue to see God as faithful in the midst of such an occurrence?

    (My husband is a youth minister and is out of town leading inner-city mission work this week...Can you tell I've got the new-wife nerves while he's away?...)

    By Blogger Sarah P, at 6/12/2005 03:49:00 PM  

  • Know that I'm praying for Chris and all the others on the Houston trip this weekend, too. I am so proud of you guys for having the courage to let Chris go, despite the circumstances. You are an example to all of us of loving parenting, loving your son enough to let him go into a potiently dangerous situation because you know it will help him grow and develop his faith. I love you guys and will continue to lift all of you in prayer!!!

    By Blogger Heather A, at 6/12/2005 07:55:00 PM  

  • Sarah,
    Your question is one of the great struggles we all face as we experience disappointment with God. Whether it is a personal tragedy we experience or because we have a philosophical mind and tend towards those kinds of questions, we still come face to face with the idea that God does live up to my expectations of him. Not that this makes him any less God, in fact it may be the opposite.

    All I can do is have faith remembering that God knows more than me and see things differently than me,(A lesson that was reinforced by a strange Jim Carry movie "Bruce Almighty.") and continue to ask him. Questioning is good, giving up is bad. Just a few rambling thoughts from a cold, northern preacher.

    By Blogger Eric, at 6/14/2005 09:55:00 AM  

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