Yesterday we got word that a distant family connection in Switzerland, our son-in-law's sister-in-law, had been abducted by a convicted rapist-murderer. He was released last year from a 20-year prison term after only 12 years and was out on house arrest. Now 19-year old Marie was missing, and authorities feared the worst after he was apprehended and no trace of her could be found.
The news flashed around the world on Facebook, and people all around the world were praying for Marie, her pastor father and mother in Switzerland, and her sister's family in America. Marie's family released a statement saying that they trusted in God and continued to speak of Marie in the present, but that if the worst happened, their hope endures beyond death.
This morning we received the tragic news that Marie's body had been found. Her family still does not know all the details, but they know that her fear and suffering are over and that Marie is at peace safe in God's arms. They are standing firm in their faith in God and are grateful for the prayers of so many around the world.
We knew Marie's family when we lived in France, when she was a little girl. We have not seen her since, but our hearts are full of grief for her and her family, understanding just a glimpse of the nightmare that is theirs. This tragedy is something that we usually see on TV or read about happening to a total stranger in the newspaper. But this time it has touched our world and rocked us and made us weep and made us think.
It has made me think about what is truly important in life. If I knew that someone I loved had only a few hours left on earth before they met a tragic and terrifying end, what might I do differently? I hope that I would be able to comfort myself that at least my loved one knew I loved them, that I had taken the time to tell them so, that the last time we said goodbye I had looked in their eyes and said "I love you" and hugged them goodbye.
By God's grace, most of us will never experience anything so horrendous in our lives or the lives of our loved ones. But I hope that Marie's legacy will be that people all around the world make sure that everyone they love knows it right now! Let's tell them while we can. Make every hour count for love.
In closing these thoughts I would like to share this beautiful poem that came into my daughter Jenny's mind as she and Jean-Marc ran side-by-side on a warm sunny day.
I wonder if she feels the wind on her face
Like heaven's embrace
The Father welcoming her into His arms
I wonder if she sees the bright blue sky
Like heaven's answer to "why"?
As she runs through eternity's fields and farms
I wonder if she smells the blossoms
Of Paradise awesome
The Garden's inviting charms
I wonder if she senses the warmth of the sun
Like heaven's summons to fun
The Spirit keeping her warm
I wonder if she holds His hands
Like a daughter, she stands
As the Son removes from her all harm
I wonder if she tastes the waves and the sea
Of our tears and our glee
As she embraces true life in His arms
Jennifer Grace Lea