My Dad's family had their reunion in July. It was a wonderful event as always. There were over 90 people present. Most families would consider that to be enormous but it is about average for the Willingham clan. It is a weekend affair and family members literally come from all over the world to get together. We begin on Friday evening with a cookout and end on Sunday with our own church service followed by a luncheon.
I was honored to be able to share briefly with the family on that Sunday about the hearing and some of the details of Mom and Dad's case. Since the hearing this has been on my heart to share with all of you. I have just struggled to actually put into words what I was feeling.
Time and again I have stated and even shared through this blog that I offer forgiveness to the young man, Jose, who confessed to participating in the murders and has been charged with stabbing them to death. I sincerely meant that but I had never been in the same room as Jose. I prayed earnestly before the hearing that I would still be able to offer forgiveness after seeing him in person. God answered my prayer!
As I was sitting the small courtroom it struck me that there was not one person there in support of Jose. Keep in mind that this young man is from Springfield, MO. He has many family members living right there. No one came to court on his behalf. No one.
There were some people there who had dealings with him before and were there to make sure he was not getting out this time either. Of course, several of our family members were there. It truly broke my heart to think of this young man having to face this all alone. I was able to feel forgiveness for him in my heart and even offered up a prayer as I sat there looking at the side of his face. Even as he sat emotionless through the horrific testimony. Even when he shook his head disagreeing with something the detective on the witness stand said. My heart broke for him.
Yes, I still want to see justice done. Yes, I am still praying he will have a change of heart and plead guilty so our family does not have to suffer through the trial process but I will still pray for him. I pray for his salvation. I pray for his family and the heartbreak I am sure they are feeling. I am praying that God will be glorified through it all.
I am so grateful for my family. I am grateful that they support my brothers and me. I am grateful that they love the Lord and serve Him with all their hearts. I am grateful for their prayers on my behalf. I am so blessed!
2 Samuel 7:28-29 (The Message)
“And now, Master God,
being the God you are, speaking sure words as you do, and having just
said this wonderful thing to me, please, just one more thing: Bless my
family; keep your eye on them always. You’ve already as much as said
that you would, Master God! Oh, may your blessing be on my family permanently!”
And, Lord, please bless Jose and his family. Give them peace. Return their honor. In Jesus' mighty name, Amen.