Members of Texas EquuSearch gathered at Mt Olivet Catholic Cemetery to help Tim Miller lay his daughter Laura to rest for a third and final time.
Laura was abducted and murdered in North Galveston county in 1984. Her death later inspired Tim to begin the work of Texas EquuSearch; an organization dedicated to helping families find their missing loved ones. So, while Laura only lived 17 years, her life has touched thousands of families across the country.
“In a perfect world, a child buries their parent. Unfortunately, things happen where a parent does have to bury their child,” said Tim as he spoke to those gathered before mentioning a number of EquuSearch members with loved ones still missing.
Galveston County DA Jack Roady performed the following eulogy:
“I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.”
We know about God through His Word (the Bible), through Creation and through our own experience with Him. He is the Creator and Ordainer of all things. Among His many characteristics, we know that He is good, holy, just, merciful, gracious, wise, unchanging, all-knowing and all-powerful.
But if God is all these things — especially good, all-knowing and all-powerful, why do tragic and evil things occur here on earth? When these terrible events take place, we may be tempted to try and make excuses for God, or apologize for Him, maybe even saying that God did not intend for this or that to happen. But God does not ask for us to apologize for Him, nor does He need us to do so.
When Laura Miller was killed, God was not surprised. He was not distracted with something else. He is not involved in some cosmic tennis match with Satan, where Satan takes a shot and then God has to come up with something in response. That kind of God is not a god worth following, much less worshipping. And that is not the God of the Bible.
The Bible tells us that God, through His permissive will, allows mankind’s sin to occur on earth without immediate judgment. At least for now. We have to remember that it was mankind who rebelled against God. Each person has sinned and turned against Him, turning to his own way and doing what is right in his own eyes. That is why unspeakable and unexplainable tragedies like Laura’s murder take place.
To deliver people from sin, God sent His own Son Jesus to live on earth as a perfect, sinless man and to take our punishment upon Himself. As part of that plan, He allowed Jesus to suffer torture and a horrible death as an innocent man, taking on Himself the punishment of death which was rightfully ours. Although Christ’s death made no sense at the time, we see now that it was part of God’s perfect and eternal plan to deliver us from sin. Christ was raised from the dead and is alive now, and His payment for our sins and promise of eternal life is available to anyone who will receive it.
So where is the comfort in this, as it relates to Laura’s murder? We see that the God who allowed His son to suffer and die as part of His greater plan is the same God who allowed Laura’s death to occur, within His permissive will, as part of His plan.
Does Laura’s death make sense to us? No, but God never promised us an explanation on this side of Heaven. He doesn’t owe us an explanation. Nevertheless, we are to trust Him and His plan, even when we don’t know why. Because even when we don’t know why things happen, we know that God — the creator and controller of the universe — is good. So we trust His character.
We should also look at what we know about the events that have taken place in the 34 years since Laura’s death. We should look at all that God has accomplished through her brief 17 years here on earth.
Laura Miller’s name has become associated with hope and comfort to thousands of people suffering the loss of loved ones, giving them assurance that “Lost is not alone.” Over the years, the name of Laura Miller has become the rallying cry for battalions of volunteers who assemble to carry out the mission of EquuSearch. And that mission has brought meaning and purpose to the lives of those very same volunteers.
People throughout history have lived entire lives of self-serving insignificance, pursuing wealth and pleasure and power, and have never come close to having the meaning and lasting legacy that Laura’s brief life of 17 years has had.
We must look at all that God has accomplished through Laura’s life. Her murder was an unspeakable tragedy – how can we understand it? We cannot understand. But we know this: that we can trust the One who does understand, who does know, and who has ordained all things. And, we can rest in confidence, knowing that one day He will return, that He will execute judgment, and that He will set all things right.