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Share the light even before darkness (religion)

By Chanel Bingham

Dec. 25 was unequivocally the darkest day of Oscar Rocha-Gomez’s young life. Though he tried desperately to save his family, his mother and two younger sisters tragically lost their lives in a horrific automobile accident.

A vehicle the family was passengers in left the roadway and entered a pond, where the three were killed despite Oscar’s efforts.

Many people ask, “Why?” in times of such tragedy, and I understand that question. However, I have also come to understand that we will never be able to comprehend the heartache and suffering of this life because we were never created to live in a sinful world.

BINGHAM

BINGHAM

God’s design for us never included tragedy; therefore, I do not believe He created within us the ability to understand it. And although we were originally intended for wholeness and perfection, the introduction of sin in the Garden compromised God’s creation and design. Sin opened the flood gates of hell, and tragedy, sickness and death swept throughout creation.

So how do we reconcile the tragedy in our lives? How do we recover from loss so great that we physically struggle to catch our very breath?

I’ve heard it said that in time of darkness, we should share the light. Yet, as I think about this statement, I can’t help but wonder if there is more that can be done. Should we only wait until darkness strikes before sharing the light? And if we wait for tragedy to befall before sharing hope, kindness and love, how will the wounded ever find their way to healing and wholeness? No, I believe we must not wait for darkness to rear its ugly head. We must start right now, today, to share the light.

One afternoon several summers ago, Pastor Kent Dodson took a handful of fliers to a nearby mobile home community and invited children and their families to attend a children’s fun day at their church. One of the families he met that day was the Rocha-Gomez family. Oscar, only 4 at the time, accepted the invitation and attended the children’s event. Eventually, Oscar and his two little sisters, Mariana and Mariela, began coming to church on a regular basis.

Every Sunday and Wednesday, Pastor Dodson’s wife would drive the Liberty Hill Baptist Church van to the mobile home community and pick up the Rocha-Gomez children. Dawn Dodson explained how God began to form a beautiful relationship between her and Maria, the children’s mother.

“Maria could not speak English, and I could not speak Spanish, yet we became friends,” Dodson said. “She appreciated me picking up the girls and Oscar, and there was a special connection there because she knew we loved her children. She was very hospitable and always invited me into her home. She would make me supper and give me gifts to show me her love and appreciation. She was a very sweet and giving lady, and even though we could not communicate well because of the language barrier, we got to where we could understand each other.”

Dodson went on to describe the personality of the Rocha-Gomez children.

“Mariana, the youngest, was very adventurous. She was a wild wire and so much fun,” Dodson said. “She liked to be at church. She was timid at first, but as she grew older, she was just so sweet and such a joy.”

Dodson described 7-year-old Mariela as a princess.

“Mariela always loved to dress up. When we would pick her up, she would be wearing the little plastic, princess, high-heel shoes and she would have on a princess dress. That’s what she would want to wear to church.” she said. “She also had a heart for God. She could tell you everything she learned from her Bible lesson. She would remember it and have understanding beyond her years. She was a very quick learner.”

Dodson also shared of Oscar’s great love and affection for others.

“He loves to be around all of us, but he especially looks up to the teen boys. He loves being around our teenage son, Dallas, and he looks up to his two older brothers. He loves them very much,” she said. “He loves it when the older boys at church involve him in a game of soccer or basketball, and he loves to play in the gym,” Dodson said. “He is very affectionate and kind, and he is always looking out for others.”

And it wasn’t just the pastor and his wife who embraced these precious children. The entire congregation fell in love with them and poured into their lives in so many meaningful ways.

As I sat in the back pew of Liberty Hill Baptist Church this past Sunday and listened to the quiver in the voice of a pastor broken by tragedy, and glimpsed the tear-stained faces of those nearby, I couldn’t help but be thankful for this group of people who didn’t wait for darkness to fall before sharing the light.

I am thankful that because of the kindness and love shared by this church, Maria, Mariela and Mariana experienced the light. They tasted of His goodness, saw His mercy and compassion, and bathed in the richness of His love.

And to you, precious Oscar, I cannot imagine the depth of sadness that fills your young heart. Your loss is great, and we as a community grieve with you. We mourn your tragedy and cry for your pain. And though we understand that you long for and miss your beautiful family, I want you to know there is hope and healing in the light that has been shared with you.

Look to Jesus, the light, and allow Him to heal you deeply and wholly. Allow His love to wash over the bruised and broken pieces of your heart and receive His nourishment of compassion and grace, even among the rawness of your pain. For one day, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).

Chanel Bingham is a freelance writer, blogger and public speaker. She resides in Thorsby with her husband and four children. You can visit Chanel at www.thepolishedcanvas.com or on Facebook at “The Polished Canvas.” Her column publishes each week.