The Today show has been covering an amazing story of mistaken identity. Two years ago, two young women coming home from a college function were in a horrible car crash; one died and one survived but with serious head injuries.
But the identities of the girls were mixed up, so that the deceased girl's family, the Von Ryns, thought their daughter, Laura, was still alive, and the living girl's family, the Ceraks, thought they'd buried their daughter, Whitney.
For five weeks, one family kept vigil at a girl's hospital bed, while the other mourned the the loss of their daughter, and yet praised God for her life and trusted that she was with Him in heaven.
Then the injured girl came out of her coma. And during a therapy session, she wrote her name: Whitney.
So the families had to switch places: The Ceraks could rejoice that their daughter was alive, while the Van Ryns had to grapple with the fact that their daughter was already buried.
From this article:
As people of faith, didn’t they ever ask, “How can God allow this to happen?”
“Not so much,” Don Van Ryn replied. “Over the years, God has shown himself to us, and we kind of know his character. We know that bad things happen to good people. We believe that God is sovereign, and he takes an active part in our lives, and even in sorrow there is joy.”
And this morning, when Whitney was trying to explain her thoughts about why all this happened, one of the things she said was:
"To glorify His name through all of us, even at the hardest times."
I'm always very moved when families with a strong faith are interviewed on TV; I think they often confound the interviewer and probably a lot of the viewers. Something terrible happened to you: Where's the bitterness? Why aren't you suing someone? Surely you don't still believe in God? And as Matt Lauer explicity asked this morning, "Where's the anger?"
And to everything, the foundation of their answer is always, "We believe." And implicitly, "We love."
Without a doubt, the most heartrending example of this was the Willis family. They lost six of their children in a horrific car fire on I-94 in Milwaukee. Their testimony of faith in a good God, in spite of the terrible loss they suffered, is humbling:
"Psalm 34 says, 'I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. O, taste and see that the Lord is good.' Janet and I want to praise and thank God. There is no question in our minds that God is good, and we praise Him in all things. God is a great God."
I hope I never am tested in that way, but whatever bad things happen in my life, I hope I will have that same response: I believe, I trust, I love, I praise.