Yesterday morning, after the 9:00 service, we heard the first rumors that a Wyoming High School student was killed in a car accident. We weren’t sure who knew, whether it was just a rumor, or any further details. Sadly, however, a little while later, it was confirmed that Richard Beck was killed in a car accident early Sunday morning. Even though we knew nothing of it at the time, David and I spoke before the 8:00 service that it just seemed like there was a cloud over Wyoming that morning – maybe it was a sense of the news that we would be receiving a few hours later.
As I have posted in several other posts the last few years, there are no words that can explain this away, explain why it happened, and so forth. There may be things learned from this in the days, weeks, and years to come, but in the now and even in the future, the shock, grief, and pain of this loss are inexpressible and not easily or quickly eased.
For me, in times like these, there are two places I go – to Scripture and to music. I have always found the connection between Psalms 22 and 23 to be striking. Psalm 23 is often used as one of the great songs of comfort in the Scriptures, yet one can’t read through to Psalm 23 without going through one of the most harrowing – Psalm 22. Psalm 22 contains lines such as “My God why have you forsaken me?” and “O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest” among many others. It is a song of lament, of crying out, of deep grief. While it ends, like most Psalms do, with words of hope in the midst, it is a harrowing song to say the least. And then one comes to Psalm 23 and its affirmation of hope of God’s presence in the midst of times of darkness, of hope for the future, and ultimately of God’s abiding presence in the now. These Psalms do not explain away times like these, but they affirm that we are not alone in the questions we ask and the hope we are seeking.
As I said, I also go to music in times like this and I have listed to two songs several times over today, both from David Wilcox. The first is a song called “If it Wasn’t For the Night“, which is actually a Christmas song he wrote. But in the piece, he sings of the blooms breaking through the snow in the dark night of the soul. Those words express my hope for this day and the days to come – finding hope in the darkness. It also expresses the hope that we hold to as Christians that there is something beyond this life – the place where there is no more crying or pain. The other song is “Show the Way” which speaks of being in that place of loss and fear and wondering when the way beyond will be made clear. Both songs acknowledge the reality of the shock and pain we may feel today but also look toward hope ahead.
I pray through these words and songs today. Praying for those who grieve deeply today. Praying for the community of Wyoming. Praying for hope to be seen in the darkness as the candles shone last night on the Wyoming Football field.