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"Hook up from Heaven"

Many of you probably heard this summer about a church bus from Shreveport, LA that crashed just hours after pulling off from the church for summer camp. A tire blew out causing the bus to roll. There “happened” to be a group of reservists just behind the bus who were returning from training on how to handle crisis just like the one they were witnessing. They jumped out of their trucks and literally lifted the bus off some of the students, helped with triage, and brought some calm to the chaos.

Two students died in the crash. One that day and another, Maggie Lee Henson, a few weeks later. Maggie Lee is the daughter of a minister from the church that owned the bus. In fact, her dad led a prayer on the bus just before they pulled off. (I think it’s kind of neat that the last person Maggie Lee heard her earthly father talk to was her heavenly father she was soon to meet.)

So many of my friends knew this family as they had gone to Baylor with them, seminary, etc. Maggie Lee’s mom is a comedian. I’ve thought so often … I wonder if she is ever going to think anything is funny again. Will she even want to tell jokes? I’ve heard some of her material and a lot of it dealt with her life with her kids. I hope God puts laughter into her heart, even in the midst of unthinkable heartbreak.

They are walking a road no parent ever wants to walk and I’m sure at times (all the time?) they want to cry out … WHY?!? Why her? Why us? Why this? And there really aren’t any answers to those questions right now.

Maggie Lee’s funeral was transmitted live over the internet for all the people around the world who wanted to be apart but couldn’t make the trip. I watched just a few minutes of it and thought I’d watch the rest later. (It will come as no surprise to you I’m sure, that I now can’t access it because you have to have a password and it’s very confusing for me - some things will never change!).

In the short bit I did see, I heard something so moving that I wanted to share it with you. The speaker was sharing that the song “It is well with my soul” had been particularly comforting to the family during their ordeal. It was even sung at the funeral.

The family knew that the song had been written by Horatio Spafford during the 1800’s as he sailed over the ocean towards his wife. He had received a telegram from her that said “saved alone”. His four daughters that had been traveling with his wife were lost at sea, their ship having sunk during the night.

In spite of his loss, he was able to pen these words:

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
What ever my lot you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come
Let this blessed assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul

It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul

It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

What the speaker said next was almost chilling: “In doing some research on the song, Maggie Lee Henson’s father found that one of Mr. Spaffords daughters was named Margaret Lee”.

They called her Maggie Lee for short.

And it just seemed like maybe God knew Jim Henson needed that right then. He needed to know that someone else had a Maggie Lee that he had loved and lost. And in the pain of losing his own Maggie Lee he could lean on the words that Horatio Spafford penned after losing his Maggie Lee … “it is well, it is well with my soul.”

I bet the two Maggie Lee’s have hooked up in heaven by now. And maybe one day John Henson and Horatio Spafford will exchange knowing hugs as well….on that day when John Hensons “faith will be made sight”.

And I’ve heard this guy, Wintley Phipps, live before and he is incredible. He sings “It is Well” on this video and shares a different sort of “heaven hookup” of his own.

Comments: #

rootsandrings - Aug 1, 2009

I had chills and a lump in my throat reading that entire thing. “It Is Well” is my all time favorite song. I have this beautiful piece of art in my kitchen that incorporates a page of a hymnal with that song.

We had a similar experience at our church. Early June, the daughter of our former pastor (still member, just worked for the Lutheran high school) was killed in a car accident. It shook us all pretty hard.

Her parents spoke to our women’s group on Friday night at an event. It was fantastic. I could write and write and write but I won’t. Let’s just say that I’m in awe of God’s plan. He really knows what He’s doing!