Rita is one of those people who speaks the name of Jesus as naturally as she exhales. She wouldn’t dream of compartmentalizing her faith–everything about Rita cries out “I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL!” Her life’s call is service to others through Hope Unlimited, a small but effective inner-city ministry. Rita’s simple, consistent, demonstrative walk challenges and inspires me and makes me want more of what she obviously has–uninterrupted intimacy with Christ.
Do you know people like this?
Then you know, too, that sometimes bad things happen to good people.
Her mother’s heart was shattered this week when her 29-year-old son, Victor–her gentle giant–was killed in a head-on collision. Three grandchildren (Victor’s nieces/nephews) were in the collision as well; thankfully, none seriously injured. When I learned about the accident I wanted to scream “Nooooooooo! Not Rita, not Victor!”
In my head and heart, I did.
The news immediately brought to mind my own daughter’s accident, but you really can’t even compare the two. Still, I’m a mother; I can’t imagine the horror of this tragedy…Rita’s tragedy…the tragedy that has shaken her family…
but not broken them.
In spite of their loss, they have responded with dignity and grace. Amidst an ocean of pain, they have continued to proclaim the goodness and faithfulness of God. Victor’s funeral was a celebration of his life, well lived, to the glory of God.
At the greatest testing of their faith, they have been faithful.
As a result, many have heard the gospel and responded to the call of God in their lives. Victor’s accident did not come as surprise to God, and I’m astonished already to see how God is using this for Rita’s (and her family’s) good, His glory…and the advance of the gospel.
It doesn’t make sense. But I suppose God tells us that in his word ~
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
~ 1 Corinthians 1:18
During life’s storms–death, disease, broken relationships, financial disaster–music and lyrics can often minister in a way beyond words. Casting Crowns has had that affect in my life consistently since their debut album, and “Praise You in the Storm” is a song that always comes to heart and mind during difficult life seasons. I’ve watched Rita praise God in this storm…and in so doing, she has not only blessed her heavenly Father, she has extended hope to everyone who hears her story.
What songs bring hope and healing when you experience “life storms”? What scriptures most encourage you during difficult seasons? And if you think about it, will you please offer a prayer for Rita and her family? A bold prayer warrior herself, I know the pain of her loss will be slow to fade, but she’ll be buoyed by the prayers of the Saints whenever you read this. (My heartfelt thanks to you all.)
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