In a moving speech Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona’s first Jewish congresswoman, has announced that she is stepping down. On 8 January 2011 Gabrielle was the victim of an assassination attempt when she was shot in the head at a public meeting near Tucson. The gunman went on to kill 6 people and wound 13 others. Gabrielle, who is married to a former astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander, was awarded Arizona Family Literacy’s Outstanding Legislator in 2003. Since the shooting her whole life has changed as, first, she battled to survive and, then, showed tremendous courage in the long process of recovering from her terrible injuries.
Gabrielle said, “A lot has happened over the past year. We cannot change that. Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover. I have more work to do on my recovery so, to do the best for Arizona, I will step down this week. I’m getting better. Every day my spirit is high. I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country. Thank you very much.”
Gabrielle is a great example of strength and determination in adversity. Sometimes things happen to us which devastate our lives and from which we can never recover in this life. We cannot go back to how things were but have to face a new and, often, very difficult future. Such experiences can crush us, but they can also be the means of bringing out amazing courage which is an inspiration to us all. We pray that each day the Lord will give Gabrielle and her husband the grace and strength they need.
Jesus Christ, who died on the cross, is the focal point of Christian faith. He experienced a depth of pain and suffering that no one else has ever endured. He died the agonising death of crucifixion and suffered the penalty our sins deserve. He was hated by his enemies and deserted by his closest friends. It seemed his death was the end until on the third day he rose again, as he said he would! He triumphed over sin and death. He is the greatest source of hope for us all, whatever life may bring to us. He gives us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. In him God promises us new life in heaven when he will heal all the sadnesses of this life and wipe away every tear from our eyes.