I’ve met Terry Stauffer a few times–at Together for the Gospel and at least one or two other conferences. He has been a regular commenter at this blog and maintains a blog of his own. He serves as pastor of Edson Baptist Church in Edson, Alberta. Earlier this week I was shocked to receive an email from my pastor pointing to this entry on Terry’s blog. “Last night at about 4:45 our precious 14 year-old daughter Emily was attacked and killed as she was out for a walk. We don’t know a lot of details, but we know that two young men came upon the scene right away, but it was too late for Emily.” On Friday the Staffer’s celebrated Emily’s life and said their goodbyes to her.
Through it all, the Stauffer’s have, at least publicly, been pillars of strength; they have been showing such clear evidence of the grace of God in their lives. They have been quoted widely in the media and clips from the funeral have been broadcast across the nation.
Here are a few words from the grieving mother:
“If it was not for the prayers of God’s people and for the arms of God holding us up, we would be puddles on the floor. God gives strength to the weak, and we are weak,” said Emily’s mother, Juanita Stauffer.
“I heard about another father this week, who said he gave the eulogy for a child, and he said, ‘You know it wasn’t hard. I could talk about my child forever.’ And when I heard that, I thought, that is so true. I could talk about Emily for a long time, and I probably will,” she said.
And from heart-broken father:
“Emily loved Jesus. But now her faith has turned to sight,” he said. “The dream is over. The endless day has begun.”
“When Emily’s death was confirmed on Saturday night, I was shocked and bewildered. And when I got on my knees, all I could pray was, ‘Oh Lord, help, help, help,'” he said.
“But right into that, one of my first thoughts was, ‘If this gospel I’ve been preaching is not true today, it was never true at all.'”
God is carrying us. He is using our family, church family and friends. God is also carrying us by His promises which were precious last week and tested and precious this week.
That gospel he has preached for so many years is true; it is the gospel that saved Emily, the gospel that will sustain this family without her, and the gospel that will reunite them in that endless day. May God continue to bless and to sustain the Stauffers and may He continue to magnify Himself through them.