Last Friday night**, the band played a show in Indiana. I talked to BigJoel about 12:40 a.m. It was an ordinary, run-of-the-mill, after show conversation: Loud background noise, distracted and cut short with, "I gotta finish up here. I'll call you when we get on the road."
So I went back to Facebooking and playing YippyIt! (which has replaced Bejeweled Blitz as my addiction of choice). At 1:20, Joel finally called back. Nothing strikes fear in your heart like when a loved one begins a sentence with, "I'm okay, we are all okay, but..." It is in those moments when an ordinary, run-of-the-mill routine would be welcomed because you instinctively know that your life has been changed forever in some way.
And it had. In the forty minutes since I'd last talked to him, everyone had boarded the bus. (In the summer, they travel "old school", one bus for both band and crew.) "Bus catering" had arrived and they pulled out of the venue headed for St. Louis. Then their ordinary, run-of-the-mill, after show routine was interrupted by tragedy as a car struck the front of the bus. The band and crew were all unharmed, but the passengers of the car were not. "It's bad," Joel said and then he had to go.
When Joel first started traveling with the band seven years ago, his safety was a *real concern* for me. Let's just be honest, a bus accident was my worst fear and I dwelt on it for some time before the Lord spoke to me. A few times in my life, I believe I have heard God speak almost audibly to me...and that was one of them. He said, "Denyse, I have promised to watch over him. Don't you trust Me? His days are in My hands, not yours." And after that, I never worried about his safety again...until last Friday.
When I heard Joel's voice on the phone and realized lives had been lost, the reality of it hit me like a sledgehammer. I could not breathe. I was paralyzed with fear. When I finally caught my breath, I couldn't stop crying. Once again, I found myself being forced to evaluate if what I say I believe and what I really believe are the same (very much like our mission trip to Peru last summer). Only this time, it involved the. most. precious person. in. my. life. I love my children dearly, but I love my husband fiercely.
And so, once again, I had to relinquish my "rights" over that which wasn't mine to control and concede that Joel's path, my path, all of our paths are determined by God. And, once again, I was reminded of one of my mother's favorite Scriptures: He will keep in perfect peace those whose mind is steadfast on Him (Isaiah 26:3) And so, while my heart aches for the families who lost loved ones, once again, I take comfort in knowing that God may not always be "safe", but He is always "good".
**The original date of this post was August 10.