A special Easter devotion for Virginia Tech fans
Read John 19:25-30
“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother” (v. 25)
She was called “an extraordinary woman” who was hit hard in her life by heartache and suffering but who endured with “resiliency and fortitude.” Fortunately for Tech fans, she instilled those qualities in her son.
She was born with the stigma of her name attached to her like some kind of scarlet letter. Her grandfather, great uncle, a cousin, and several other family members were involved “in a spasm of violence in 1912 that left five people dead, including the judge, prosecutor, and country sheriff.” They shot up a Virginia courthouse and fled, an incident with its subsequent manhunt that “dominated headlines across the nation for months alongside the other huge story of that spring: the sinking of the Titanic.”
The incident – and other less sensational encounters with the law – left a scourge on the family name that she bore. “She faced obstacles every way she turned” because of her family name.
When she was 7 in 1926, her father died of pneumonia. Shortly after that, the family’s farmhouse burned to the ground. “She had a tough time as a girl,” summarized a relative. Neighbors and relatives helped the family rebuild, but life on a farm during the Great Depression was hard. Even as a young girl, she worked constantly just to help the family stay fed.
She grew into “a smart, pretty young woman” who used her determination and grit to secure a teaching certificate. She fell in love, married, and gave her husband four children. Each of the pregnancies was difficult, especially the last as her labor stretched into days. But as she had done throughout her life, she relied on her faith and her fortitude. She “prayed and prayed” and “told the Lord that if he would allow the child to be born she would do everything she could for the Lord for the rest of her life.”
She was Herma Allen Beamer. That last baby was Frank. And she kept her promise to the Lord.
Mamas often face challenges in their lives that involve their children, but no mother in history has faced a challenge to match that of Mary, whom God chose to be the mother of Jesus. Like mamas and their children throughout time, Mary experienced both joy and perplexity in her bewildering and sometimes exasperating relationship with her son.
To the end, though, Mary stood by her boy. She followed him all the way to his execution, an act of love and bravery since Jesus was condemned as an enemy of the Roman Empire.
But just as mothers like Mary and Herma Beamer – and perhaps yours – would apparently do about anything for their children, so will God do anything out of love for his children. After all, that was God on the cross near which Mary stood, and he was dying for you, one of his children.
She was just mom. She demanded you do well. She knew how to endure.
– Frank Beamer’s brother, Barnett, on their mother
Mamas often sacrifice for their children, but God, too, will do anything out of love for his children, including dying on a cross.