Click on the player below to listen to an excerpt of a podcast during which Ward and Tami reflect upon Bekah's memorial service:
A Grieving Father's Thoughts on Tragedy
Words from Bekah's Dad, Timothy King,
which he shared at the celebration of her life on August 7, 2010
I have a theory about why we experience suffering and tragedy in a world ruled, I believe, by a loving sovereign God. I believe tragedy strikes in this world because it is an opportunity to visibly demonstrate Christ-like, sacrificial love to those suffering. Who else, if not the suffering and the hurting, need the healing experience of a comforting word, a hug, any display of caring? Tragedy is like a bomb going off. It leaves a hole, a crater. We are experiencing a Bekah-sized hole in our life right now. This hole is left by the death of a loved one, a divorce, a natural tragedy. Last Tuesday morning after receiving the news, it was like I was stumbling around that crater that her death left. I wandered the house, upstairs and down. I sat in Bekah’s room for a while and wept.
The hole needs to be filled. There are two options. The first is that we stay in the hole and do nothing. Bad things start to grow there -- self-pity, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, judgment, resentment, despair, hopelessness, withdrawal and so forth. The people around you in the present become less important than the hurt of your past. These are ripe for the picking, especially in light of the fact that Bekah’s life was ended by a drunk driver. Soon, these things fill the hole you’re in and it becomes a living grave.
The second option is that we fill that hole with the things that come from the hand of God -- His abundant love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, hope and peace. We fill it with loving relationships and reaching out to the hurting. I don’t think this comes all at once. Like broken bones, it takes time to heal and there will always be a scar. But in doing this, the hole created by the tragedy will never become a grave.
I think what happens is that when that hole is filled in with the glorious love of God, what was once a hole becomes a foundation. And upon that foundation we are faced with the opportunity to build something of beauty. Right now, I’m still in that broken bone stage, but I’m setting my heart to fill that Bekah-shaped hole with the love and grace of God.
What we then build upon that foundation is a life of sacrificial love for others. The idea in the mind of God is that there be raised up a body, a community of people committed to building upon the foundation of loving others in the midst of tragedy. The greatest waste would be that when we lose something of beauty like Bekah, to replace it with the ugliness of bitterness, apathy, unforgiveness and anger.
So maybe the question is not, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” but, “Where are those whose hearts are filled with the love of God who will reach out to comfort the suffering?” The question is not, “Why, God, why?“ but “Who, God, who? Who will be the next in my world to be struck with tragedy? And who will be the one to step forward to be the mouth of God to speak words of comfort, the arms of God to embrace the hurting, the hand of God to provide for those in need?“
As I have come to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the Bible, it’s a message of new beginnings, a new creation, an opportunity by the power of God’s love to start life over again. We can’t go back and remake the past to bring Bekah back -- the “if only” game. If only Bekah had waited a minute longer to leave or a minute earlier; if only the other guy had his lights on...etc.
But we can’t make a better past. We can only work to fill the hole left by Bekah’s death to make a better future. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
A word regarding Henry Stoltsman (the man who hit Bekah's car) and his family: I know he will have to face the courts for what he did in breaking the law. But my prayer is that this becomes an opportunity for him to start over in life. I would love nothing more than to see Henry cast his past upon God, to know the love of a heavenly Father in Christ and to make this a time of new beginnings, a time of healing. I would love to see him in years to come be transformed from a man who took the life of Bekah to a man who gives his life for the enrichment of others.
Such a thing can happen by the power of God. I think only in this will something as senseless as Bekah’s death make sense and bring glory to God.
In Loving Memory of
Rebekah Joy King
beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter
April 26, 1990 - August 2, 2010
The King Family at NCMI's Conference
in Page, Arizona in 2006
Bekah, Debbie, Sarah, Tim and Hannah
Timothy King may be contacted through
of Grand Junction, Colorado.
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