I had no idea that on May 21st Christian recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman lost his 5-year old daughter, Maria, in what’s been described as a tragic driveway accident. I’ve been a huge fan of SCC’s music for over a decade and have read how after three biological children he and his wife Mary Beth had adopted three more little girls from overseas.
From The Tennesseean:
It was quiet on Thursday outside the Chapman home, after the confusion and pain of the night before.
The family of 5-year-old Maria Sue Chapman was inside preparing for her funeral. Maria, the adopted daughter of Christian singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman, was killed Wednesday evening in what officials have deemed a “terrible accident.”
The evening was supposed to have been festive. Chapman’s eldest daughter, Emily, had just become engaged, and the family was celebrating. A high-school graduation party for one of their sons was planned for later that evening.
One of Chapman’s two teenage sons was backing down the family’s driveway in a Toyota Land Cruiser. He didn’t see Maria in the driveway and struck the child, according to the official accident report. Maria was rushed to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville by LifeFlight, but she died of her injuries there.
Website for Jim Houser, SCC’s manager, called House Mix. The postings he shares from 5/21 forward are gut-wrenching to read, and you’ll cry, but they are also inspiring.
In the midst of the grief was the long-planned release of his latest album, This Moment: The Cinderella Edition.
With nearly 10 million records sold, 15 studio projects, and 41 career #1 radio singles, Steven Curtis Chapman has made an overwhelming impact on Christian music. In October, Chapman released his first new album in 3 years, centered around the theme of celebrating every moment of our lives. With the loss of his daughter in a tragic accident on May 21, 2008, this thread seems all the more important. His unmistakable voice and signature songwriting style is woven throughout each song. The Cinderella Edition released on May 27th, planned months before Maria Chapmans death, highlights the album’s best known track, inspired by a bath time encounter with Stevey Joy and her sister Maria.
The inevitable blog comment postings and commentary are talking about this and wondering how this could happen to such a “spiritual” family. How can God be considered “good” or “loving” when He allows this type of thing to happen? As Chris Findley of Home2Rome blogs:
The question of how a “good” God can allow such horrible things has haunted mankind for thousands of years. Although the most famous (and most misunderstood) is Job, the Bible is full of people who experience great tragedy in the midst of this life, even while serving God. Think not only of Job, but of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Think of the innocents slaughtered at the hands of Herod as he sought to kill the Christ child. Think of Stephen, the Church’s first martyr, stoned not for a crime but for his faith. Of course we need to look upon the cross and see the bruised and bloodied man upon it and reflect on the harsh truth that being a Christian does not shield one from suffering and pain.
And yet we wonder. We ache for an answer. Why does this happen? Something within us knows that it shouldn’t.
I’m going to follow Chris’s lead and honor Maria and her family by reading further the work of another who strengthened us through his suffering, Pope John Paul II, and finally read his apostolic letter Salvifici Doloris (the Christian Meaning of Suffering). And of course, by praying for her and for those she left behind.