At the end of last week, I did a post entitled, What’s He Up To? The point of the posting was that we needed to trust that God is active and moving in our lives, even though we sometimes don’t see it.
I challenged everyone, including myself, to submit everything to God so He can turn our struggles, fears and doubts into something greater than we can imagine. Yesterday, I got some terrible news that had me asking once again, What’s He up to?
A mother of nine named Judy died yesterday as a result of a car accident. I first met her several years ago when she asked if the Confirmation students from her parish could join us on our annual retreat.
Judy came from a small parish in rural Pennsylvania, and she had heard about the retreats we put on for the young people of our parish. Because they only had 10-30 students each year, as compared to our 150-200, there was no way they could put on a “big” retreat themselves. Of course, we said yes, and thus began a wonderful friendship between our two parishes, and between Judy and me.
Our two groups came together just three weeks ago today. Judy was a faith-filled, dynamic woman, and her whole demeanor spoke to her love of God. In all my years of ministry, I’ve only encountered a few people like her. She was one of the most positive, loving people I’ve ever met.
Two nights ago, she and her husband were driving back home from teaching a course at their church. By God’s providence, they were in separate cars, since her husband had to drive from work to the event they were involved with.
Judy had the green light as she drove through an intersection. Her vehicle was struck by another car that was involved in a police chase. The driver of that car was driving at a high rate of speed and ran the red light. Judy’s vehicle was pushed into oncoming traffic and was hit by a truck.
Judy, whose youngest child is 18 months old, died later at the hospital. In these type of events, we shout out to God to help us make sense of it. I cannot imagine the grief of her husband and children. My heart goes out to all the young people of her parish. Her death is a tragedy that words can’t explain.
But God has a plan. He’s working through something, and although it might be hard to see it now, I pray that some greater good will come from it.
Maybe it can start now if each one of us reading this post can take some time and reflect on our lives. Where are we in our relationship with God? What needs to change in order for us to be the person God is calling us to be? What transformations need to occur? Will we really let God in and make all things new?
Life is precious, my friends, and none of us knows how long we have before we meet God face to face. As I reflect upon Judy’s life and my own limited encounters with her, God presents me with a great example of holiness and virtue.
Her love of God was expressed in her joyful smile and trusting spirit. I’m sorry you never had the chance to meet her. If you had, you would, no doubt, have been touched as well.
My prayer today, in addition for Judy’s soul and for her family and friends, is that each of us would strive for lives of holiness. Maybe one day, when our time has come to return to the Father’s house, others will be moved to say they desired to be closer to God because of their encounters with us.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen