Regardless of Your Situation, Being Angry Will Only Make It Worse
We all find ourselves in situations that make us mad. The question is what are you going to do about it?
Gary Christian took his first step straight into his own dark, cold, hellish hole on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007.
That’s when law enforcement told his family that his daughter Channon’s body had been found.
Family and friends had been searching for her for two days,
What happened to Channon Christian and her boyfriend, was one of Knoxville’s most horrific crimes. The young couple was ambushed and carjacked on Jan. 6, 2007.
Both were beaten, tortured and raped.
The anguish never leaves Gary Christian’s voice when he remembers being told his daughter was murdered.
“That was my baby,” he says.
After being told what had happened, he walked to the far edge of the police parking lot, away from anyone, and looked toward heaven.
He screamed at God. Then he turned away from Him.
“I told Him I am done with You. I don’t want You in my life. I don’t need You in my life, and I don’t trust You with anything.”
This was a dramatic turn, a first step into his hell on earth.
Saved at age 8, Christian had grown up in church. If the doors were open, he was there. He went on mission trips, played drums in a Christian band and witnessed for Christ. “I loved the Lord,” he says emphatically.
As a parent, every morning, he prayed. In every prayer, he asked God to watch over Channon and her older brother Chase.
Then God failed him.
“All I asked Him to do for my kids was to protect them. And He didn’t.”
That anger, mixed with deep hate and a desire for vengeance, was all he felt for years. He existed in a cold, dark abyss. Even in a crowd, he felt alone.
“I couldn’t depend on nobody; I didn’t trust anybody,” he said. “Alone had a lot to do with everything.”
About a year after the initial trials, Christian found a way to keep Channon’s memory alive. He bought a motorcycle and started the Shepherds RC riding club.
The club hosts an annual Channon and Chris Memorial Ride to raise money for charity.
The ride is one way the families remember their children while helping others.
Then, the Shepherds rode Christian back to a place he didn’t want to go.
Some club members asked him to attend their church. Come to Easter service, they said. It was almost like a dare. He didn’t want to go. But he did, mostly just to shut them all up.
“I never denied God. I just didn’t want to have anything to do with him,” he says.
He knew Easter service would be about the crucifixion. But the Rev. Jim Cummings first preached about Peter, the disciple who denied Jesus and whom Jesus restored. Then he talked about Christ on the cross.
Two weeks after Easter, Christian was back at the church. “I got convinced to go again,” he says with a wry smile.
That Sunday was the day of the Shepherds’ club-only ride to remember Channon’s April 29 birthday. Before the ride, Christian and other Shepherds went to church.
The sermon was different than the Easter message. But Christian felt it was directed right at him. “I couldn’t shake what this guy said the first time, and he’s doing it again.”
It’s about 24 miles up Pellissippi Parkway from the church to the cemetery. The whole ride that last April Sunday, Christian says, “the Lord was tearing me up.”
When he got off his bike at Channon’s grave, “I was just so tired. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
“I went down on my knee, and I asked him, ‘Just like you did with Peter, restore me.’ And he did.”
When he got to his feet, he realized the Shepherds around him “were all Christians … Everybody in the club then, some longer than others, had been praying that one day I would find my way back.
“I hadn’t done that when I started the club. Never once did I ask a man about his faith. But all I knew that day, all the ones standing there with me were Christians.”
He knows now how it happened.
“When I turned my back on God, he never left me. He never stopped loving me. He never stopped protecting me. He never left my side. And I didn’t even know it.”
Restoration and healing aren’t always easy. For Gary this means revisiting and talking about death, loss and anger.
Anger causes a lot of unnecessary pain. To be healed from that pain we need to ask for help…both from God and others.
In Luke 13:10-17 Jesus healed a woman who had been suffering with a crippling spirit for eighteen years. She came to Jesus and he healed her.
Jesus can heal us too.
Sometimes the healing is different than what we’re looking for, but God knows better what we need. The key to this healing is to ask.
Don’t waste your life being angry.