My heart has been heavy for the last ten or so days for a teenage girl from my hometown and her family. Whitney Loving wrecked her jeep on Friday, June 26. She was ejected from the vehicle and rushed to UVA where she underwent brain surgery and is currently fighting for her life.
I know of Whitney. I don’t know Whitney, but I know of her. I think everyone in our hometown at least knows of Whitney. That’s just the kind of girl she is – someone you know. She is a year older than my brother and sister. She played softball with my sister, back when Libby still played. I remember her little sister, Lulu, cheering her on during games. Whitney is Miss Nelson and a softball player, but she’s also a daughter, granddaughter, sister, girlfriend, niece, friend, cousin… She is well-known and well-loved in our small community.
While Whitney fights for her life, her family has displayed an unshakable faith. A Facebook group, #PrayForWhitneyFaith, has thousands of members, from all over. Her mother posts updates almost daily, sharing the family’s faith and belief that God will heal Whitney. Despite everything, their faith is beautiful and humbling. There have been several posts in the group, thanking them for sharing their faith, and for bringing others closer to God, simply through letting their own faith be on display.
Whitney’s license plate was “John 13:7.” That verse reads as such:
Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
I have held that as a favorite verse for a long time, but it has been on my heart almost constantly over the last 10 days. In the face of such a tragedy, this verse speaks so loudly. The Loving family’s unshakable faith speaks loudly. I have prayed for them often, and thousands of others have joined me. It is a beautiful testimony.
It breaks my heart to see my brother and sister and their friends posting things about praying for Whitney and encouraging her to keep fighting. Not quite as much as it breaks my heart to see those same posts from her family, but still heartbreaking, all the same. Their little school in the middle of the mountains of Virginia has gone through so much in the last couple of years – Alexis Murphy’s abduction and murder, a friend battling cancer, and now, another friend fighting for their life.
Those are some awfully big “real world” problems for teenagers to face.
And yet, as they – and this county – go through these situations, they get to see unshakable faith in practice. They have seen, through abductions, cancer, and accidents, what it truly looks like to have faith, to be faithful to God.
Despite the heartbreak, I hope that is a lesson that sticks besides them as they grow – to have unshakable faith, even in the midst of their darkest hours. I hope I remember that lesson.
Please add Whitney and the Loving family to your prayers.