"His purpose through me is not finished yet. I believe I miraculously survived and am alive to tell the remarkable testimony of hope and God's grace through tragedy. God can bring beauty from ashes. There is peace through Jesus. God is still good, all the time."--Robert Rogers
When a book titled Into the Deep crossed my desk a few weeks ago, I glanced at it, but put it aside, as I was reading at least three other books at the time. But something prompted me to pick the book up over the weekend, and I read it straight through. A slim volume, it's a quick read that is both extremely painful and unrelentingly hopeful.
Into the Deep is the story of Robert Rogers, who lost his wife and all four of his children in a flash flood in Missouri in 2003.
The scenes where Rogers has to identify the bodies of his children and his wife are nothing short of heart-wrenching. Early on in the book, when Rogers describes how playing with his family was among his greatest joys, and how he would literally bless them every day, we get a glimpse of the fact that this is an extraordinary man.
Not without hope
But it is in Rogers' response to the sudden destruction of his family that we see God's incredible peace and grace truly revealed. Yes, Rogers had his agonizing times of questioning God, and hours of anguished tears. But he was not without hope, and he has come through the tragedy "shining like gold."
After the tragedy, Rogers (who is an accomplished pianist and songwriter), was asked to speak at so many groups, churches and events, he ended up starting Mighty in the Land .
I started “Mighty in the Land” in January 2004 to change the way people live their Godly and family relationships - through a compelling message of Hope, Encouragement, and Priorities.
I want to challenge people to “Live a Life of No Regrets” through my family’s testimony.
I convey this message through spoken, written, and music ministry. I travel around the country and speak, play the piano, and sing without charge to groups who need this message.
The website tells Rogers' story and keeps track of his many public appearances, and the Mighty in the Land foundation "...is dedicated to advance adoption and care for orphans and special-needs children worldwide." (Rogers' youngest child, Alenah, was a special needs child adopted from China. She died, along with her mother and siblings, after having been with the Rogers' family for only eight months.)
Into the Deep
As I said, Into the Deep is a book about a tragedy, and if such things touch you deeply, you'll want to keep the Kleenex handy. But as you agonize with Robert Rogers over the loss of his family, you will also rejoice over a faith that is able to sustain a person over the most catastrophic and horrifically painful times. There is great comfort in the fact that Rogers can still say, "God is still good, all the time."
So why did I title this post, "A Tale of Two Fathers'?
As a news announcer on 101QFL and Radio 91 one of the first stories to confront me this morning was that of the arrest of Christopher Vaughn.
Vaughn is charged with the fatal shootings of his wife Kimberly and three children, Abigayle, Cassandra and Blake. Their bodies were found shot to death in their SUV along Interstate Highway 55 near Channahon, Illinois...ironically, just a few days before Father's Day. Vaughn had been shot in the thigh. He initially claimed his wife did the shooting.
Now, I realize that Vaughn is innocent until proven guilty, but I was struck by some of the surface similarities in this story and that of Robert Rogers. A man loses his entire family due to tragic circumstance...killed while together in their vehicle on what was supposed to be a fun family trip.
A jury of his peers will determine Vaughn's guilt or innocence; only he and God know the truth. But if Vaughn is guilty...if he really did perpetrate this heinous act on his innocent family...then, what a difference in these two fathers.
Robert Rogers lost his family. He would give anything to have them back. Without the grace of God, he wouldn't have been able to go on living.
If guilty, Vaughn snuffed out the lives of his family in cold blood. If he did this, what incredible, unthinkable evil.
If so, what a difference in two fathers.
Related Tags: Robert Rogers, Mighty in the Land, Into the Deep, Christopher Vaughn