1 Samuel 2:6-8—The LORD brings death and gives life; He sends some to Sheol, and He raises others up. The LORD brings poverty and gives wealth; He humbles and He exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the garbage pile. He seats them with noblemen and gives them a throne of honor. For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; He has set the world on them.
Every person has a story. Command Sergeant Major Loera and I walked beneath the famous Arch in St. Louis. We were looking around at the different venues when a woman walked up and invited us inside the theater where she worked. As soon as the movie about making the Arch finished, she slipped us two free tickets and sent us to watch the Lewis and Clark film. She repeatedly thanked us for our service touching us with her generosity.
The next day, I returned to the Arch from our hotel to give Maria a small gift to thank her for her kindness. Later I asked her to tell me her story. She protested that her life was boring but thankfully shared anyway. Maria was born in Red Bud, Illinois, on November 19, 1954. At the age of sixteen, she was forced to leave home to find work and a place of her own. In 1974, she married a man who sadly turned out to be an abusive alcoholic. The day after her husband hit her son in a drunken rage and sent him flying across the room, Maria escaped with her children to stay three months with her pastor and his wife in a room they prepared for her. Her marriage lasted just under ten years.
On April 17, 1995, while at work Maria received a call from the hospital—the call every parent dreads. A nurse told her that her youngest son Tim was admitted for treatment but that he was okay. But each time she asked about her daughter the nurse would not answer. Maria knew her seventeen year-old Angela was with Tim and had a bad premonition. Just three months earlier, Angela told her mom about a reoccurring dream about a black truck, a hill, and a glowing hand that reached out to her. She was afraid to see what was beyond the hill and to take the hand for fear she would not see her mom again. Maria told her if the hand was offered and she wanted to go she should take it.
A sovereign Father prepared His children for a difficult time. Angela and her brother Tim were passengers in a black truck. The driver was young and foolishly speeding on a country road when he lost control. His pickup launched off a hill and rolled three times killing him and Angela. Somehow, both Tim and Angela’s boyfriend survived. Tim held his sister’s arm as her pulse expired.
When Maria notified her boss of her daughter’s death, he told her if she missed a day of work, she would be absent without leave (AWOL). Incredulous, she responded that she would be gone all week regardless of what he did. Fortunately, another employee heard the conversation and reported it to the supervisor who immediately called and apologized to Maria. Then he gave her a month off with pay! This incident seems to capture her life—Maria suffers adversity, responds with courage and receives grace from God to continue! Her joy meter stays lit. She is a woman who makes everyone around her better.
If you would like to take a moment and encourage this humble woman for being a light that honors God, you may write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. I suspect she would love to hear from you and I think you’ll make a new Illinois friend.
Love sweetens pains. And when a Christian loves God, he can suffer for His sake, joyfully and courageously.—Brother Lawrence & Frank Laubach in Practicing His Presence
©2010 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)