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Beauty From Ashes: Remembering Maria Chapman

Show Hope’s Director of Operations, Charley Redmond, remembers the beautiful life of Maria Sue Chapman and reflects on the powerful ways God has brought beauty from ashes.

I remember the phone call as if it was yesterday. A friend called to tell me that Maria Chapman had gone to be with Jesus due to a terrible accident at the family home. I, like countless friends, family members, and fans around the country, was stunned! How could this sweet little girl be taken from a family who so passionately champions the cause of the orphan? It didn’t make sense to me then. It doesn’t make sense to me now.

Isaiah 55:8…”Gods ways are not our ways.”

Matthew 5:4…”Blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted.”

Revelation 21:4…”And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain…”

The Bible has much to say about grief as well as God’s plans to bring good to those who love him. Still, as a husband and father, I wonder how I would face such suffocating grief and loss without giving way to despair. How do you trust God’s hand and the good he promises when all your heart wants is to have your child back in your arms again?  It was with those thoughts running through my head that I stood with Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman at the grand opening of Maria’s Big House of Hope (MBHOH). What was an obviously bittersweet day marked what would become the promise of new life for untold numbers of orphans with special needs in China.

I have been given the privilege of traveling back to MBHOH many times since that day.  Each visit is a reminder of the loss but also a confirmation of God’s faithfulness to fulfill his promises.  The bittersweet nature never really goes away, but the sights and sounds of laughing children are very much a glimpse of God’s redemption…of his bringing beauty from ashes. Several years ago, while traveling to MBHOH, the group I was with was approached on the streets by two Chinese men. They were local laborers who had done much of MBHOH’s electrical wiring during construction. In our conversation with them, they referred to MBHOH as “the house where God lives.” What an amazing testimony to the good God can bring as he continues to work to redeem such an unspeakable tragedy. The impact that continues to unfold goes far beyond anything any of us could have dreamed or imagined that first day as we stood speechless in the wake of Maria’s loss.

As we remember Maria this day, may each of us more fully live under the grace of God’s promises as we press into understanding the amazing love that he has so freely set upon us. Like MBHOH, may our lives be viewed by those around us as “the house where God lives” as we work together to press into the needs of waiting children around the world.

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