January 05, 2009

The difference between Steven Curtis Chapman and John Travolta

After I read the story about John Travolta's son passing away this weekend, I got to thinking about how different it is when someone loses a loved one and they are not a Christian. Not to say that every Christian handles death the best way, or even in a good way. I'm just saying that the difference in how people handle these tragic circumstances was marked in the two families I have listed.

Here is an excerpt from a story on John Travolta's family. (Just for the sake of this story's significance, Travolta and his wife are members of the Church of Scientology.)

"Q: How is John doing? A: John is distraught. He is trying to understand and reconcile this. He is seeking an explanation so that this makes sense to him. And his loved ones are trying to provide that to him. Yesterday was the worst day of his life. Today is probably equally as bad, and if not, it's the second worst day of his life. John is recognizing the outpouring of support he has got from both the U.S. and the world. He can feel the love and he says it makes him stronger and hopefully it allows him to reconcile. He is undergoing the pain any father would if they lost his son. Generally a son buries his father, and John thought that would be the way it would go with Jett, not the other way around. He is in shock. He is emotionally distraught. He is going through many different feelings of disbelief and anger. It's going to take a while for him to feel good again. This is the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to him and he needs to go through a process of healing. John and Kelly are suffering total misery. They were so close to their son. This is hard to accept."

For the entire article, go to:

In contrast, this is from an article that was written shortly after Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter was accidentally run over with the family car by one of Steven's other children...

"A memorial service was held Saturday at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville for Grammy Award-winning Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman's 5-year-old daughter Maria Sue. Maria Sue died three-days earlier when she was accidentally hit at their Franklin, Tennessee home by a reversing Toyota Land Cruiser driven by her 17-year-old brother.

In a two hour service that drew 1500 mourners - Maria was remembered for her love of water and doing the dishes naked. She "loved, loved, loved to be naked," said her mother Mary Beth Chapman. He understandably is just devastated," Chapman's pastor Scotty Smith told CBN News about the son involved in the accident. "Their beautiful home has a couple of bends in the road. It just was totally an accident. A viewing for Maria was held Friday evening."This is a very difficult experience for the family and for any family that has lost a child," Pam Stevens, the Funeral Director at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home & Gardens in Nashville told Usmagazine.com. "Their faith is extremely strong and that is what they're leaning on."

For the rest of this article, go to:

What I found interesting about these two stories is the utter devastation and despair that the Travolta family seems to be in. While it's obviously hard for any family who loses a child, some of the verbage in the first article really made it seem like Mr. Travolta is angry and questioning why this happened. The word "reconcile" was used several times by his representative. That he was trying to reconcile what has happened. Presumably, he can't reconcile what he believes with what has happened. Scientology is a sketchy religion, at best. The word "Scientology" means "the study of knowledge or truth." The Scientology religion holds that man is basically good, not evil. This flies in the face of what we, as Christians, know to be THE truth. We need Jesus. We need the Savior. Unfortunately, Mr. Travolta and his family are trying to reconcile their child's untimely death with the idea that if they did was Scientology told them, everything would be fine. They would have success, a good family, etc.

Steven Curtis Chapman's family, while not perfect by any means, had the benefit of knowing that their daughter was with her God and that God never promised us that we'd never know pain or loss in this life. He promises us that He will help us through times of pain and loss. He promises that if that loved one knew Him, we will see them again. He also promises that we will most certainly know hard times!!

As Christians, we can know with certainty that we will encounter horrible pain at some point, sometimes many points, in our lives. What gives us an advantage over those who don't believe in Jesus is that we know He suffered too. We know that He loves us and will be there with us through the tough times. How hard it must be not to have that knowledge!

It's times like these that make me even more determined to talk to those I love who are non-believers and let them know that Jesus is real and that He loves them and wants to be in their lives! Please, don't hesitate when God gives you an opportunity to talk to someone about Him. It may be your only chance.

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