Yesterday a long time friend’s life was remembered and celebrated. I unfortunately, was not able to attend his funeral but have heard accounts through mutual friends of his steadfastness of faith and love for our Lord Jesus Christ. Todd Smith was definitely all of those things and more. His heart was always open for opportunities to help others and spread the gospel. I can remember asking Todd to explain to a student I had years ago the nuts and bolts of purchasing a car. He calmly and patiently took time from his busy schedule and explained to this sweet girl exactly the steps she needed to take. It seems like yesterday that we all sat in Sunday School together as the young married. As I remembered Todd, and prayed for his wife Lori and their four children yesterday, God reminded me of how this family taught me spiritual lessons long ago.
Lori and her children offered to the Lord a sacrifice of praise as they mourned the loss of their beloved husband and father. At a moment in life when there seems to be so much confusion and hurt, they knew the one thing that needed to be done, was to offer praise to their heavenly father. My facebook newsfeed was full of witnessing accounts of the awesome strength seen from the family and the amazement that they could stand strong and worship during this time. I myself witnessed this same ability in another Smith relative years ago. It is a picture that stays in my mind and reminds me to find strength to praise God in times of trouble.
Lori’s mother, Carlene Hoskins, also exhibited the strength so many have been amazed by, years ago. She was one of several people who shared their testimony as part of a musical that our church performed. “God With Us” was a powerful event that echoed praise to God in all our circumstances. Mrs. Carlene did just that. After fighting more than one battle against cancer she spoke of God’s presence and power to the crowds that gathered. I don’t remember all the words she spoke but I will never forget watching her as she stood at her seat after speaking demonstrating true worship. Although she was in a crowded sanctuary she worshiped as if she was standing at the foot of Jesus. She raised her hands in praise to the one who saved her soul and walked with her every step of the way. You could tell that in her moments of pain and weakness He had made her strong and she had not forgotten.
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15
That mental picture of Mrs. Carlene has returned through the years when I’ve taught about worship or when I’ve been asked questions about worship. “It is well with my soul” was perfectly demonstrated by Lori’s wonderful mother years ago and now Lori herself has demonstrated it again. What a spiritual heritage the Smith family lives before us! My heart aches for Todd’s family and their loss and for the days they face. My prayers will continue for you all. Thank you for being a vessel God uses to teach us that there is power in His presence.