May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. Psalm 33:22
They left their porch light on continuously for twenty-seven years. Each morning, he made his way down the lane to the place where his son was abducted and said a prayer for his return. She became a fierce and effective advocate for missing children everywhere, working tirelessly to improve the odds of them returning home alive. And today, it was announced that the remains of their precious son, Jacob Wetterling, were found in a farm field less than thirty miles from their family home. The man who is believed to have abducted him led police to the spot.
The Patti and Jerry Wetterling family were just ordinary people until their son’s abduction in 1989 threw them into the national spotlight. Instead of allowing their grief to overcome them and destroy their lives, they rose to help others by being champions for missing children everywhere. They called their actions “Jacob’s Hope,” and out of that hope grew a legacy of faith in action for all the world to see. Through the family’s efforts, federal legislation was passed to require convicted sex offender registration nationwide. Patti worked many years in sexual violence prevention at the Minnesota Department of Health, and she has served on a global nonprofit organization that combats child sexual exploitation, child pornography, and child abduction.
Today, we may find ourselves in a comfortable lifestyle. Tomorrow, any of us may be thrust into an unspeakable situation where we need to choose between despair and hope. Moses said to the Israelites, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). Moses knew life would not be easy, but he spoke with the authority of his God when he challenged the people to move forward in hope. “For the Lord is your life,” he continued. These words can remind us of the ordinary people who become extraordinary in the face of trials. Those who love the Lord and walk close to Him call on His strength to turn tragedy into triumph and pain into action.
Abiding Father, hold us close to You when life’s storms surround us. Give us strength to take the next step toward hope when all seems lost. Amen