We miss Anabel terribly. We’re sad and heartbroken. We grieve, but we know she’s gone to be with God.
To the family, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel your loss. We’re praying for you so very much in the days ahead. Anabel was joyous, and she brightened every room she was in with her smile. She was devoted fully to God and intent upon fulfilling his call for her life in this world. She had a special grace about her and an amazingly strong spirit. Anabel’s spirit and her example are still leading and serving in so many here this morning. We are very sorry. We’ll journey through this valley over time with God together. But we’ll miss her very much. It’s been said that death does not extinguish the light from the Christian, but rather puts out the lamp because dawn has come. Anabel no longer needs a lamp to guide her path. Because she’s walking at the side of God.
I got permission from Mrs. Reid to tell you this story. Upon being notified of the tragedy and that Anabel had left this world, she had three immediate responses. One was to apologize to the trooper who had to be the one to break that news to her. Next, she immediately expressed compassion and concern for Dr. Michael Nicodemus, the driver of the bus. She said, “I have to talk to him. He has to know this is not his fault.”
And finally, she said, “you know Anabel was not of this world. She never has been. If there was one person who was ready to go – It was Anabel.”
May the spirit of God be upon all of us that we may respond to this tragedy with the grace and strength that you have modeled for us.
Billy Graham tells a story of the words that were found penned on the wall of a Nazi prison camp in Europe. It said “I believe in love even when I don’t feel it. I believe in God even when he is silent.” I know we have many unanswered questions and a range of emotions. Sadness, anger, hurt, uncertainty. We can search for all the answers in times like this, yet we may never find them. In times like this we can search for God and we will always find him. Our enemy may try to use this tragedy to tear us down and discourage us. I can promise you that our Father will use this time to build us up, and bring us together.
The heartbreak we feel began at a specific spot on a specific road last Friday night. Our healing will take place over a long period of time. The road to healing will take place in classrooms, dorm rooms and counselors offices. Healing will occur along sidewalks, sanctuaries, and in moments of stillness with God. Our suffering is severe. But this ACU family is strong. The pain is real. But so is our God.
Students, I can’t express how proud I am of you for the way you have responded, for the love and support you shown to each other, the way you’ve grieved together, the way you’ve honored God and your friends like Anabel. And the resolve that you’ve shown to be Gods hands and feet in a world that so desperately needs you. Needs your love. Needs your kindness. Needs your compassion, your selflessness, your smile. The hope in your eyes that only comes from knowing God. You are so amazing. and you are strong. may we all remember that in the world we will have trouble. in Christ we have peace. trouble will strike and we will grieve, but we will never give up and we will never stop doing the work that God has called us to. may the peace of Christ rule in our hearts and bring healing to our hurt as we continue to join the mission of God and bring hope to this world.