Today is Jason's birthday... he would have been 31 today.
Instead of being sad, I am looking for ways to find joy -- to celebrate the life that Jason lived while he was here and to celebrate the amazing ways that God has blessed people through his life and even through his death.
I heard on the radio a short time ago an interview with Christian music artist Tammy Trent
. Back in September of 2001, her husband of 10 years, Trent Lenderink, was involved in a fatal diving accident during a trip to Jamaica. Tammy tearfully recalled what happened. (I could not find a transcript of the interview, but I did find these quotes from her online that parallel what she said.)
"Something was terribly wrong. Trent, free diving in Jamaica's Blue Lagoon, had not come up for air. After 45 minutes, I began to worry. After an hour, I was frantic. Rescue divers began searching for him. I went in the back of the restaurant at the Blue Lagoon, where I found myself lifting my hands towards heaven, crying out to God to help me. I stayed at the Blue Lagoon the entire time that they searched for Trent. After three hours, they had to call off the search because it was getting dark. That night, they took me to the nearby home of two doctors. I was up all night talking to family, friends and pastors.
On the morning of Sept. 11, they recovered the body of my husband, Trent, from the Blue Lagoon. He died of multiple contusions to the back of his head.
I remember falling to the floor screaming and crying. All I could say was, 'Jesus, what happened? Trent, baby, what happened? What went wrong? How could this possibly be good for my life? What do I do now? What am I supposed to do?' All our lives Trent and I had looked to God for guidance, for wisdom, for comfort. And so, even though my heart was breaking and I couldn't understand how He would allow such a thing to happen, I knew I didn't want to run away from God. Desperate to cling to the only thing I knew was true, I found myself crying out to Him, 'There are a million questions, and I don¹t understand any of this.' As my body ached with sadness and confusion, I just kept asking God to remind me that He was real."
Tammy went on to say that God completely amazed her in how He carried her through the pain and the anguish. Though she still misses Trent terribly, she continues to hold tight to God's promises of heaven and the reality that she will see Trent again someday. She still does not fully understand why God let it happen but she says that God has given her strength that can only come from Him and that God has really used her story to touch people's hearts and change people's lives. Then she said something that I really related to well. She said that she would NEVER consider Trent's death a blessing... but she is so grateful that God could use this tragic story to help other people find Christ.
The fact that so much good can come from something that heartbreaking is a true testament to God's grace!
I can't tell you how much I felt I could relate to what Tammy said! Although the circumstances are different, the reaction is the same. I have SO many questions for God. I want to know why He didn't stop Jason & Lindsay from being murdered. I want to know why He didn't spare their families this incredible heartache and loss! But then I can see, somewhat, the "bigger picture" that our sovereign God sees. Jason & Lindsay wanted to reach lost people for Christ with their lives... and now, by God's grace, they are actually fulfilling that mission through their deaths. It is amazing to think about... but that does not mean that I am glad that Jason & Lindsay died. It is such a bittersweet thing. I want them back. I wish they were still here! I wish I didn't have to have a reason to write a memorial website for a dear friend I shared my childhood with. But God never said that life would be easy. He only said that He'd carry us through it... and He has, indeed, been faithful. If nothing else, this pain makes us long for heaven... and long for an eternity in the presence of our loving Savior. Thank you, Jesus, for your gift of Salvation! We are lost without You!
With that said, to honor Jason's memory today on his 31st birthday, I want to share with you a wonderful truth! Here is one very recent (and AMAZING) example of a life changed through Jason & Lindsay's story that brings me so much joy!:
|Back in December of 2006, a brave young woman from Brazil found this memorial website after hearing about Jason & Lindsay's story in the "Our Daily Bread" publication. She listened to Lindsay's dad's audio message called "For Such a Time as This" and got in touch with the Cutshalls. Over time, through many e-mails, she shared her life story with them. Without going into too many details, she had a lot of anger and confusion toward God because she had been very hurt and betrayed by people in her life who called themselves Christians. Their attitude toward her made her, understandably, very angry over the years. Just last week, Lindsay's parents flew down to Brazil to spend a week with her to counsel her, pray with her, and share the gospel with her in person. And last week Thursday, May 7, she accepted Christ! Praise God!!! :)|
Here are her words:
"My life has been touched by some great and loving people. I'm here in Brazil and they are in the USA, however, Jason and Lindsay made us a family.
I am not the same person I was and I thank God first. He broke those strong walls around me and continues to break them. I am finally breathing the reality of this life and of God. It was and still is a miracle!
I thank all of you in the USA who spent so much time praying for me. I love you all. It was a wonderful and loving week here in Brazil. Plenty of love!!!"
How AMAZING is it to see God still continuing to reach lost people for Christ through Jason & Lindsay's story?!? God is so awesome!!!Happy 31st Birthday Jason! ♥