Today’s Reading: John 17:18-19 (NIV)
18 [Jesus said,] “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. 20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.”
This morning, I remembered my friend Rita, who passed into the arms of Jesus several years ago. She struggled to breathe almost every day during the last few years of her life. Struck with emphysema, Rita was forced to wear an oxygen mask daily. When you can’t get a full breath of air, the little things in life become extremely difficult. Just getting out of bed each day was a battle. Rita had a determination and tenacity about her that I’ve often longed for in my own life.
Rita had the heart of a true evangelist. She lived her life in Christ, trusting His Word for her every need. Not only did He help her breathe, Jesus was her every breath. This disease did not stop Rita from finding new ways to share her love for the Lord with others. When she could no longer speak the words of faith, Rita found another way to share faith.
In my mind, I can visualize Rita getting up early each day. I imagine it took every bit of strength for her to sit up, to stand, and walk from her bed to the computer table next to the window. After sitting for a time, Rita would begin to read the Scriptures and pray. She would watch the sun come up from her window, and the magnificence of the love she felt for God was simply overwhelming. She had to share it somehow.
Every morning, I would look forward to receiving an email from Rita in my in-box. I always opened it first, because I knew she had a special message for me from the Lord. Rita would send one verse of Scripture through cyberspace, to everyone on her email list. There was no commentary, no story, no visible pictures attached. That verse of Scripture was more than enough for the recipient to know just how much God loves them.
When Rita stopped writing, I knew it was because she was too ill to continue. Occasionally, I would reply to her emails, thanking her for her labor of love, and I’m sure that it was. What may only take a few seconds for me at the keyboard may have taken her hours to do. I’ll never know for sure what she went through to send out that verse of Scripture each day to the world. Rita never ever complained.
There are people who need a word of hope and encouragement today. We do not know the struggles they face, but we do know there is a Savior who knows, and He is here to help us now. Jesus prayed to the Father not just for those who believe, but for all who were not yet believers, that they might come to hear the Truth through us. Jesus prayed that we might be sanctified in Him. Rita took Christ’s Word to heart, and until the day she died, Rita made sure His Word was circulated over the worldwide web.
I write today in loving memory of my dear friend, Rita. Those Scripture verses made a lasting impression in my life. Thank you, dear Father, for giving us Your Word and the opportunity of sharing it daily. I pray they will read Your Word, receive your message, and place their hope in You. It is in Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
© Copyright 2008, Deb Spaulding
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