I just arrived home a few weeks ago from the 5-week banquet tour. You want some kind of a report, I’m sure. Though it was not easy to tell and retell the story of Edmund’s death as part of my testimony each night, I pray that the message of God’s faithfulness triumphed above the graphic details. I do not tire of talking about God’s gracious hand on my life, and the depth of God’s grace poured out on our family.
I did meet many wonderful people on this tour, some who shared with me the stories of their own heartbreaks. If my story, in some small way, encourages someone else to hang in there as we wait for the full outworking of God’s purposes, then it is certainly worth my small efforts. [I also was able to see some old friends and acquaintances again, including my friend Joan Hayner. I knew her and her parents when they lived in New York and supported our family in Papua New Guinea, but I haven’t seen her in a while since she moved to Georgia.
On the corner of my display table I placed papers where people can write their prayer requests. It says, “I would greatly appreciate it if Grace Fabian would please pray for me confidentially about the needs, for myself or a loved one, that I’ve indicated here.” I feel honored that many shared with me this way and it is indeed a privilege to bring these requests before God with confidence, knowing that He is always at work answering our prayers.
I did hit a record in book sales one night. We were at Aiken, South Carolina and it was not a big crowd, but I sold 32 books. That’s the most I’ve ever sold at a single meeting. Second place goes to Athens, Georgia with 17 books sold. Instead of just autographing books, I write an inspirational message in each one and pray that it will bless the person who buys it.
Something special happened on this tour which which never did before. One night, as I was speaking about Edmund’s murder, a young woman in the audience saw my emotion and approached me. As I was talking about finding my husband she put her arm around me and held my hand! Once I moved on from that part of the story she returned to her seat. After my talk I was able to speak to her a bit, and she revealed that, having lost her own father, she knew something of my grief. Maybe we can all try to be just a little less afraid to show support and compassion when others are hurting.
Throughout the tour we were bombarded with horrific news starting with the awful reports from New York City of how someone plowed down cyclists and pedestrians there. Then came the news of the shooting at a Starbucks café. And then that awful murder of people in Texas attending church Sunday morning. I cry out with the Apostle Paul, “How much longer must I deal with my failures and the sinfulness of this world?” (Romans 8:29-30) I can almost hear his “sighs and longings,” his “inward groanings” (8:23) as he waits for the day when redemption will be consummated.
Remember how Jesus loved the children while he lived on this earth? Just imagine the scene in heaven when he embraced all those beautiful children and they were suddenly in the presence of pure love and peace. It was marvelous beyond description. We can’t feel one bit of sorrow for them. But our hearts ache for all their loved ones who survived. All I know is that what is to come for all of us in Christ will be so wonderful that all our pain will be well worth it. I don’t understand this verse very well but Colossians 1:24 says that our suffering, in some small way, fills up what is lacking in the sum total of tribulation that must occur before the new heaven and new earth come. At Wycliffe Bible Translators we often sing the song,
“It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Him.
One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase.
So bravely run the race, ‘til we see Him.”
I tried to write letters as we traveled but it was too joggy in the van (Is joggy a word? My computer says no, but I like it and you know what I mean), so correspondence didn’t work very well. If you didn’t receive a note from me, please do not put me on your black list. I will get this in the mail as soon as possible. I do appreciate those who did pray for me along the way. I know God was listening as we had over 3,000 miles of safety on the highways (just one flat tire), good health, good energy to set up and take down, and peace to sleep in a different almost every night.
I chose as my guiding posts for these five weeks verses in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely,
and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”
God has certainly been faithful. I have much to be thankful for.