Missionaries are the true heroes of today - men, women and children who have surrendered all and determined to fulfill the Great Commission by carrying the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the farthest corners of the globe.

(DISCLAIMER: I am a member of an Independent, Fundamental KJV-preaching, soul-winning Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas. However, this blog is my own creation and is not a ministry of Bethany Baptist Church. Missionaries featured in this space may or may not be supported by my church. Inclusion in this list does not imply any affiliation with Bethany Baptist Church, nor does it offer any extra "in" for a missionary to present his work at our church. Inviting a missionary to our church is not my decision, but my Pastor's. I'm sorry to have to include this, but don't want to have any misunderstandings to come out of what is intended to be a blessing.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thinking about the Cretzman family

For many of us in the Independent Baptist community, this week has been difficult as we have watched and read about the terrible accident that claimed the life of Azlynn Cretzman, the 3-year-old daughter of Bro. Matt and Mrs. Lana Cretzman, missionaries to Cuba.

Our hearts ache for this family as they have suffered such a horrible loss. Untold thousands of us have joined together in prayer around the world, lifting up this dear family as their tragedy is played out again and again in the media.

Earlier today I watched a video someone posted online from a news station in North Carolina, where this accident occurred. I was struck by Bro. Cretzman's calm spirit, his steady voice and his solid faith as he talked about the outpouring of love and support they have experienced in the days since he cradled his daughter in his arms as she slipped away into death by the side of a road.

I watched Bro. Cretzman stand before the camera and talk about the accident and I wondered if I could do such a thing in his place. Could I stand before the world and tell everyone that God has given me the grace to go on in the face of a catastrophe far worse than the worst thing that I could ever imagine? I hope I never have to find out.

I know that there are no words to say at a time like this other than, "Bro. and Mrs. Cretzman and little Maddi Cretzman, we love you and are praying for you." While even that is insufficient, we can say it knowing that the God of the universe knows exactly why this happened and what will happen as a result of it. He is always right and He is always good and He is always just.

Any time I hear of the death of a young child like this, I am drawn to II Samuel, where David sat by the bedside of his unnamed son and waited for the death foretold by the prophet Nathan. Hour after hour David kept vigil by the child, fasting and praying for his son. When the child died, David rose, washed, went to the house of God and worshiped.

While the circumstances surrounding the death of David's child were far different than those facing the Cretzman family, I think the principle is the same. Look at what David said when his servants questioned his reaction to the death of his son:

"[22] And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
[23] But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." II Sam. 12:22-23

I don't doubt that King David wept often in the time following the loss of his son, but his weeping was not "even as others which have no hope" II Thess. 4:13b. Likewise, the Cretzman family will weep many times as they reflect on the events of last Monday morning. Still they will be able to cling to that precious promise that they will one day see Azlynn again in a place where "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Rev. 21:4.

We know that life will go on until the day that Christ calls His Bride home. The Cretzman family will recover from their physical injuries and will resume deputation, and eventually will go to Cuba, the land where God has called them to dedicate themselves for the furtherance of the Gospel. Other missionary families will take to the "deputation trail" and raise the support they need to take them to locations all around the globe. There may be more tragedies like this one last Monday, but God will always be faithful and His Name will be glorified in the midst of the most violent storm.

For those of us who stay at home, let us rededicate ourselves to do more for missions in the coming days, weeks, months and years. We are charged with holding up the arms of our missionaries as Aaron and Hur held up the arms of Moses during the battle.

Even now, God is speaking to boys and girls, men and women, calling them to dedicate themselves to go out into the farthest reaches of the world and seek the lost at any cost. May we dedicate ourselves to pray more, give more and go when He calls.

Yet at the same time, we must faithfully remain in the harvest field where He has called us to serve right now.

Let's join together to pray for the Cretzman family in their time of trial, and continue to pray for them and all the other missionaries who have given so much that the cause of Christ may be advanced.

In Christ,

Bro. Garry

1 comment:

  1. Such a tragic event, and something that I hope the Lord never asks of me. However, if He does, I hope to be found faithful to praise His name, in the easy times and in the difficult times as well.

    Makes me want to hold my children all the more closer...