In HOPE 10.21

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David Timms


To Watch

A local television station interviewed Charles immediately after the atrocity. His touching responses can be seen in a clip on YouTube. Go to and type in a search for "Charles Beckett." This two-minute clip will stir your soul. 


Prayer for Today

Father, how often I feel overwhelmed -- on the one hand by the trivial, and on the other hand by evil. Help me to trust that You can "weave something ridiculously beautiful" out of anything that I offer to You. Forgive my pettiness and self-centeredness. I pray for those who share the gospel in desolate and inhospitable places, that their lives confirm the power of the gospel. And for those who grieve, grant them peace and comfort. Amen.




“I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord ... and count them but rubbish in order that I may know Him, and attain to the resurrection from the dead." 
-- Philippians 3:8-11

Ridiculously Beautiful

Charles Beckett belongs to our "In HOPE" e-community. He and his family live in Knoxville, Tennessee.

A month ago -- on August 5 -- Charles and Mary's 32-year-old daughter Cheryl was one of 10 foreign aid workers ambushed and killed by Taliban soldiers in northern Afghanistan.

The group was providing medical, dental, and eye care to poor villagers in the region. Cheryl was in her sixth year in Afghanistan, after declining scholarship offers to Johns Hopkins University. She chose to follow the call of God to devote herself to the poor in one of the most remote and unreached regions of the world, marveling at how God can take the ordinary and evil "and weave it into something ridiculously beautiful."

I heard the heart-breaking news for the first time last week and dropped Charles a short note. I was deeply touched by his gracious, faith-filled response. He wrote:

After visiting Cheryl in Afghanistan in the Fall of '08, I was convinced that she was following her call to serve the Lord there. I also came away with the feeling that blood would have to be shed to remove the obstacles that hinder the proclamation of the good news. My prayer is that in this case, as in so many others, the blood of the martyrs will once again become the seed of the church. She touched multitudes, including many Muslim families who are grieving deeply. Her housemates have indicated that many have been deeply moved by Cheryl's caring life and sacrificial death. We pray that they will join the throng of the "like-minded," and that the unjust laws which bind the open spread of the good news will fall, to His glory.

Like so many of you, I too am a parent. And the prospect of losing a child to such violence strikes fear within me. I can't help but wonder whether I have the depth of faith that Charles and Mary have shown in this loss of their daughter. They are what I hope to be as a follower of Jesus.

Grief and faith are not mutually exclusive. Our grief simply reveals the depth of our love for that which we've lost. But grief can sometimes distort us or distract us. I'm unspeakably touched by the faith I've seen and heard in the Beckett family.

Our grief is beyond anything I can describe. It comes in waves that seem like they will crush us. Yet, God's astounding mercy lifts us above and beyond.

Their faith in Christ calls me to a higher vision and a deeper faith of my own. It puts the trivialities of my day into fresh perspective. Perhaps it can encourage you in the same way.





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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2010) at .

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.