“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come” – Heb. 13:14
A beautiful, young woman has been brutally murdered, her husband charged and arrested, and her family and friends have been left reeling, mourning for a life that seems to have been cut short too soon.
Valerie Joy Harmon Tieman was a vibrant, loving, kind person, who touched the lives of many. While she was a few years behind me in school (her brother was in my class), our small, Christian school was pretty close-knit, and I enjoyed being a band mate with her my senior year. Her bubbly personality and ability to turn a bad day into a good one seemed to be one of her best qualities, and I see from posts all over social media that I am not the only one who saw Valerie in this way.
The last time I spoke to Valerie (a few years ago), she and I shared the heartache of infertility, and she asked me a lot of questions about adoption. But even though it’s been a few years since our last conversation, I still feel the loss hits too close to home. Her family is precious and dear, and my heart aches for them as they seek justice for their daughter, sister, and aunt.
Anyone would understand if the Harmons wished for an eternity of hell for the man who took their only daughter from them. But instead, Valerie’s parents have prayed for his soul and hope for his salvation.
In fact, her father has grabbed onto the grief that Job knew and proclaimed as Job did:
“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” – Job 1:21.
Perhaps that seems strange to you. Perhaps you are wondering how we can possibly believe in a God who would allow something like this to happen to one of His children. Perhaps you are wondering if we are crazy for loving a God who seems to mercilessly allow “bad things to happen to good people.”
The truth is that we are angry. We are sad. We do cry out to God asking why He allows evil to win again.
But then we remember. Evil hasn’t won.
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Cor. 15:54-57)
You see, we can forgive and have hope and even offer love because our God is bigger than the evil we see. And because (as the old hymn says), “This world is not my home/I’m just a’passin’ through/My treasures are laid up/Somewhere beyond the blue. . .”
So while we mourn over the loss of a beautiful, 34-year-old woman, our grasp on this world weakens a bit more, and we become homesick for our eternal home with our heavenly Father. You see, this place that we are just passing through is full of crime, domestic violence, hate, pain – SIN! But the home we long for, our eternal place, is perfect – no more pain, no more tears.
Still, it’s hard to be the ones left behind. Each day is hard, and we miss those who have gone before us.
But God is good ALL. THE. TIME.
Even when a baby dies in their sleep. Even when a child drowns in a swimming pool. Even when a husband abuses his wife.
God is still good!
How do I know?
“You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?
9Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;
This I know, that God is for me” – Ps. 56:8-9.
I don’t know what is happening in your life today. Perhaps you are battling a difficult situation. Perhaps you are being abused. Perhaps you are going through a deep loss or heartache like the Harmons are. I can’t take away your pain. But God is here. He is with you now.
“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” – Deut. 31:8.
If you want to know more about my God, I would love to talk to you! Please feel free to message me!
*Please if you or someone you know is being abused, don’t wait to make the call. Contact the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
R.I.P Valerie Joy Tieman
Gone, but Not Forgotten