Sunshine in the Valley

humor and encouragement from my heart to yours

In the midst of unthinkable tragedy…hope

on April 2, 2010

I try to mainly post cheerful topics here on my blog… there’s enough gloom and doom in the news right now without my adding to it. However, last week I learned of a tragedy so severe that it has been hard to shake from my mind.

The Eshes were a family of Mennonite singers from Kentucky, well loved and respected by their church and community. A friend was to be married out of town, so all 10 family members–Mr and Mrs. Esh, their three daughters, son and daughter-in-law, two adopted little sons, and a family friend–headed out in a van to attend the wedding. But they never arrived.

A tractor-trailer rig crossed the median and smashed through the cable barrier, crashing head-on into the Esh’s vehicle. The two little boys miraculously survived, but every other person in that van died instantly. Every one of them. Eleven people. In that instant, an entire family was gone.

This was not the first tragedy to hit their family. Several years ago their oldest son was killed in a snowmobiling accident while serving as a missionary in the Ukraine. Last December, their home burned to the ground. And now this.

I can’t wrap my mind around a tragedy that unspeakable. These were people who loved God and served Him faithfully. One would “think” they would be the last folks in the world to experience such things. Yet no one is exempt from suffering, and for reasons unknown to any of us, He chose to allow particularly fiery trials in their lives before taking them home early. They are face to face with Jesus now, and will know no more pain. But I can’t imagine what their extended family and friends….and those precious little boys… are going through right now. To the world’s way of thinking, they should be angry at God. But as the following interview reveals, their faith remains strong even in the midst of extreme tragedy.

Talk about grace in the fire….

There is so much mystery, too. If you copy and paste the following link in your browser,, you will find that there was another young lady planning to travel with them that fateful day. She had arranged everything with her friend, and then strangely forgot all about it until hearing news of the wreck. God intervened and kept her off that van, sparing her life. In my human reasoning I want to ask, “Lord, why not the rest of them too? Why did such a horrific accident have to befall that sweet family? I don’t understand!”

But the truth of the matter is, I’m not promised I am always going to understand. I’m promised that God is good even when everything my eye can see would seem to disprove it. As I’ve heard it said, when we can’t understand the hand of God, we trust His heart. I do not personally know any of the family, so I am on the outside looking in. This is not “my” trial, yet I know I can learn from it. My own faith has been encouraged to see the grace evidenced in the loved ones left behind. Please pray for them though; trusting God doesn’t mean that coping is easy.

I want to close with a link to a song the Esh family sang several years ago. It is beautiful, and the video includes pictures of them, a very touching memorial to a family whose lives–though sadly cut short– were wholly given to God to the very end.

Praise God they are home.


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