This past Saturday, Nov. 4th, a bus carrying Abilene Christian University (ACU) students to a mission trip weekend at the Medina Children’s Home lost control. In the accident several were injured, and one sophomore student, Anabel Reid, lost her life. Our Josh Garcia is a student at ACU. Please keep in your thoughts and prayers all of those especially affected by this tragedy. Following are some of the comments by ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert at the Chapel service Monday morning. I hope we will all find in them encouragement to get through our own difficult times, as well as a reminder to always seek God and be faithful in carrying out His mission.
I know we have many unanswered questions and a range of emotions – sadness, anger, hurt, uncertainty. We can search for all the answers in times like this, but we may never find them. Or in times like this, we can search for God and we will always find Him. Our enemy may try to use this tragedy to tear us down and discourage us. But I can promise you that our Father will use this trial to build us up and bring us together. Our pain is real, but so is our God. I want to remind us of a truth that we must never forget. This past Friday, 16 members of our family embarked on a mission trip. They, like all of us should be, were enthusiastically engaged in fulfilling the mission of God – serving children and orphans in the name of Christ. We’ve grown used to safety in western Christianity. Sometimes it’s even difficult to scare us. But throughout history, the mission of God has never been safe. It never has been and never will be. Part of ACU’s Promise includes the adjective ‘authentic,’ which describes what kind of spiritual growth best equips us to make a real difference in the world. For something to be considered ‘authentic,’ it must be tested. It must be tried and found to be true. This tragedy, this trouble, it shouldn’t surprise us. Someone once asked C.S. Lewis, ‘Why do the righteous suffer?’ ‘Why not,’ he replied, ‘They’re the only ones who can take it.’ None of us want to be tested like this. But here we are. Long before the ACU Promise, Jesus made a promise to his followers – ‘I told you these things so that in me, you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.’ Students, I can’t begin to express how proud I am of you. For the way you have responded, the love and support that you’ve shown to each other, the way you’ve grieved together, the way you’ve honored God and your friends like Anabel, and the resolve you’ve shown to be God’s hands and feet in a world that so desperately needs you – needs your love, your kindness, your compassion, your selflessness, your smile … the hope in your eyes that only comes from knowing God. You are so amazing. And you are strong. And may we all remember that in this world that we will have trouble, but in Christ we have peace. Trouble will strike and we will grieve, but we will never give up. And we will never stop doing the work that God has called us to. May the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, and bring healing to our hurt as we continue to join the mission of God and bring hope to this world.”