In the vein of speaking on resurrection and new life in Christ, we had the opportunity to share our story at Pepperdine University recently. Going back to Malibu, our first home as a family, is always meaningful, but this particular visit was extra special as it was the first time we shared our story on campus, and the timing for us to share it was striking, to say the least.
Just two days before we were scheduled to speak to the undergrad chapel, I heard on the radio that Pepperdine's athletic chaplain, Maurice Hilliard, was found deceased on a nearby beach. This shocking and tragic event left us deeply saddened and rocked the campus as the life of this 44-year old--described as the heart of Pepperdine--ended far too early.
We knew this would be a very sensitive time for everyone at Pepperdine. We took the opportunity seriously and knew that our story might be just the right message to bring some comfort to hurting hearts. Literally, Maurice was scheduled to speak at the chapel the week after us, so we felt a truly God-ordained connection between his story and ours. The stage was tragically but beautifully set for the students to hear our story through especially receptive ears. We reminded our audience that we sat in their seats only a few short years ago, and in sharing our personal story, we were able to communicate to those students that life is nothing if not uncertain. Our desire was to inspire them to start living an abundant life in Christ by serving and giving of themselves and investing in the eternal...now. Oftentimes the most poignant motivator to do this is when we are taken, often against our own will, to the house of mourning.
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep,that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” (I Thessalonians 4:13)
The Lord weeps with us in our pain and sickness and death, but for those of us who know Him, there is a different way in which we grieve, because unlike others, we have hope. Because of that hope, we are able to live our lives without fear of unmet expectations or sudden endings, rather we can live empowered by Christ in us, the hope of glory -- truly a message for college students and non-students alike. And that hope heals.