Gone in a Heartbeat: Our Daughters Died... Our Faith Endures is the story of the Works family written from the viewpoint of parents David and Marie.
David and Marie share with us their journey beginning with the call of the Lord upon their lives, their dedication to serve Him, the news that they were expecting twins and the circumstances and experiences of their lives that brought them to New Life Church. They explore in detail the events of that frigid December morning when two of their daughters were tragically taken from them without warning. They write of the painful healing process and share with us the hope that, in spite of all odds, never dims.
This book touched me in a very real way. Maybe it's because more than 10 years ago I actually knew these girls. Maybe it's because our lives were so similar. I serve the same God they do.
I remember getting that phone call from my mom December 9th, 2007. She told me that "The Works family was walking out of church and they were shot."
My mind couldn't wrap around it. "WHY?!"
I thought there must be more to the story than that. Turns out there really isn't. The were shot at, just for walking out of church. Just for attending church. It was a hate crime.
Of course, we're familiar with the persecuted church. In China. In the past. We know that there are people that die for their faith in this day and age. Christian martyrs. In other parts of the world. Not here. Not in America where our constitution protects freedom of religion. Right?
But, really, what difference does it make where we live? What difference does it make what church we go to? We all made the same commitment to Christ. We all chose to follow Him. We gave Him our lives. We all said "Do what you will, I belong to You."
Stephanie and Rachel Works are modern day Christian martyrs. They chose to serve the Lord. They planned to be missionaries and spread the gospel. They wanted to do something big for Jesus. The surrendered their lives. Literally.
David and Marie made the same commitment. And in many ways the sacrifice required of them is much greater. Their daughters are in the arms of Jesus, where there is no more sorrow, no more pain. David and Marie are still here on earth, where sorrow and pain are still very real.
Reading this book opened my eyes in a whole new way to the reality of what it means to serve God. Over a year ago, when I first heard the news of this tragedy, I struggled deeply with the horror of it. I cried and hurt for their parents and sisters. I wondered how anyone could ever recover from such a horrible experience.
You and I may never be asked to make the kind of sacrifice that David and Marie and their two surviving daughters made. Our lives may not be required of us at the tender ages of 18 and 16, like Stephanie and Rachel. But, what if we were? After all, we gave Him our lives, too.