Anguished family advocate thanks legislators
Before praying, Messer thanked legislators, staff members and lobbyists for the support and encouragement they have shown his family since the disappearance of his wife Lynn on the morning of July 8.
That lawmakers invited Messer to speak was in itself an unusual bipartisan act of support, especially since state law bans lobbyists from entering the floor of the General Assembly while in session. However, Speaker of the House Tim Jones, with support from other legislative leaders, invited Messer to address lawmakers before gaveling in the Sept. 10 session.
"I want to express my deepest gratitude to those of you who have reached out to myself and Abram [Messer's son], and our family, with your concern and prayers during our season of distress," Messer told the General Assembly before the special session in which a number of vetoes by Gov. Jay Nixon were overridden, including a vetoed 72-hour wait period for an abortion.
"Your texts, your emails, your phone calls, your visits and your many offers of assistance and support have communicated very well the humanity and common bonds we all share as part of this remarkable capitol community," Messer said.
He then prayed that God would be "our ever-present help and provider in all that we seek to do, to make this great state of Missouri a better place for its people.
"As King David often expressed himself as perplexed and undone in so many ways, he would turn his eye towards You and purpose within his heart that he would conduct himself according to Your ways," Messer prayed. "This is my prayer for the members of this legislature -- that they would turn to You in humility and seek to honor You in all they set their hands to do in this trusted assembly."
Choking back tears, Messer then turned to the speaker of the house, thanked him and exited the floor of the General Assembly as legislators gave him a standing ovation.
"It was just such a deep, deep blessing to have that kind of affirmation," Messer said, adding that hours of blessing followed as he interacted with legislators, staff members and lobbyists at the capitol, thanking them again for their support and sharing with each of them a similar message, which he recounted during an interview with The Pathway newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention.
"You have no idea how deep this anguish is," Messer would tell each of them. "You cannot comprehend how painful this is. The not knowing just eats at you like a tiller going on inside your guts, and you can't stop it. You can't do anything about it.
"But when you run to the Lord, you spend more time on your knees than you ever have in your life. You find a deeper prayer life than you've ever had," he said. "You start learning things about the Lord and about yourself that you never knew, and you start finding parts of your heart that you never knew existed. You wrestle with emotions that you never thought you would ever wrestle with. But the blessing comes because the Lord gives you comforts which are just as hard and just as indescribable to explain to anyone as the anguish that you're going through.
"So when you go back home to your family, your church, your district and you see that person that is in that deep anguish, you tell them to run to the Lord, because there are comforts there that cannot be explained."
Authorities have been searching for Messer's wife since July 8 when Messer woke around 4 a.m. to find her missing from their home in St. Genevieve. Ever since her disappearance, Messer has sought to bring glory to God in the midst of his anguish, including a Facebook page devoted to the search for Lynn: www.facebook.com/findlynnmesser.
Messer asked for continued prayer in the search for his wife and for himself, his son Abram and their family.
"This is the most difficult thing I have ever faced in my life, and I just beg Missouri Baptists to pray for us," Messer said. "God is good and I can praise Him. For the first time in my life I actually understand how David could write psalms that start by talking about being undone, being disjointed and being at his utter, utmost wits' end and, before the psalm is over, turn his praises to the Lord and give glory to God because He is that good, even though the anguish is still there."