Have you ever read a book you just couldn’t put down? A book that left you with a challenge and a call to action? I just finished reading a powerful and inspiring book that had that effect on me. Unseen Hand of God: A Journey of Faith, Family, and Second Chances by Rich Lupia.
The plea near the end of the book grabbed a hold of my heart.
“Share my story and give God the glory.” (Lupia 114).
Most of my Central New York friends will remember the author, Rich Lupia, as the bright, young energetic meteorologist on WKTV channel 2 who captivated audiences in the late 90s and into the 2000s. What you might not know is that Rich, now a husband and father of four, suffered a massive stroke over a month ago and is still in the hospital slowly recovering. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people are praying for him, and his wife Amy will attest that, even in this difficult situation, the “Unseen Hand of God” is at work. Every day she shares an update on his progress, offering hope and encouragement to the many rallying around their family. And she gives God all the credit.
I consider it an honor to share Rich’s story in the form of a review of his book.
With transparency and humility, Rich takes the reader on a journey through the ups and downs of his life as the “Unseen Hand of God” guides him, even before he was aware of God’s presence in his life. He bares his soul and shares his blessings, struggles, and mistakes. Why? The answer is found in the introduction of the book. Rich wants to share something that is missing from our society, HOPE. He shares hope by being REAL about his life and how God is working in it.
“Without the stories of what God is doing today, the words in the Bible, the very Gospel itself, may seem distant and irrelevant. Let me assure you the ‘Unseen Hand of God’ is at work today.” (Lupia 3).
Rich also wishes to encourage you. “I want to be an encourager. I want to help as many people as I can, not for my own glory, but in thankfulness to God who gave me life more abundant in His son Jesus.” (Lupia 4).
Rich’s story begins when he was bullied in high school. On one dark night, he planned to end it all, but the “Unseen Hand of God” touched him, and he resolved not to give up the fight. (Lupia 9-10).
Soon after, Rich was invited to attend youth group with a friend, a gesture that changed his life. This is how Rich describes it: “That night I discovered what true friendship, true love, and a relationship with Jesus Christ were.” (Lupia 15).
A few months later, on a trip with his youth group during winter break, Jesus became real to Rich. He explains his conversion experience in a simple, genuine, and easy-to-understand way. “Jesus Christ is real; he is alive, and he died for me on the cross. I needed him because of my own sin, and we all fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:9). (Lupia 17).
Rich shares his college and early career struggles and triumphs, and then, in four charming chapters (9 to 12), he shares the blessing of finding his soulmate, his engagement, his wedding, and becoming a father.
Throughout the rest of the book, Rich details more than his fair share of challenges and trials. Through three cross-country moves, major health issues, infertility, foster parenting and ultimately adoption, the sudden death of his mother-in-law, and career changes, Rich points to the “Unseen Hand of God.”
I have chosen one event to highlight. Rich describes how, when Amy called and told him they were asked to foster newborn premature twins, he thought it would be too much for them for numerous reasons, and he wanted to say no, but he was physically unable to. He literally could not utter the word “no.” He describes the experience as “one of the freakiest things ever” (Lupia 70) and attributes it to the “Unseen Hand of God.” Their fostering led to adoption and completed their family of six. Here is Rich’s commentary on the situation: “It was hard as I feared it would be, but something was happening to all of us. God was growing us in ways which we never could have dreamed. . . Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? I can’t imagine my life without those kids. . . Without “the twins” our family just isn’t our family.” (Lupia 73).
The last few chapters are full of nuggets of wisdom that are sure to encourage you. Here are a few examples:
“Love is spelled TIME.”
“Fear takes from you what God wants to give you.”
“Focus on what you are giving rather than what you are receiving.” (Lupia 112).
Have you figured out what the call to action is? Rich challenges you, the reader, to be real, to take his example and tell your story. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Take down your façade and show the “Unseen Hand of God” in your life. Just as Rich had many second chances, grab ahold of the second chance God is offering you, and make sure you give second chances to others as well. And above all, don’t forget to give all the glory to God.
*Two copies of Rich’s book will be given out in a drawing. To enter, subscribe to my email list at the end of this page. If you are already a subscriber, you will automatically be entered. (US subscribers only.)
*Would you like to join Amy's Facebook page, Prayers for Rich Lupia?
*If you feel led, you can give a financial donation to help the Lupia family through Go Fund Me.
Check out Rich’s websites: richlupia.com and upstatesnow.com
You can purchase Rich’s book on Amazon.
*background photo by jabeebe46 from Pixabay (El Capitan, one of Rich's favorite places.)
Lupia, Rich. Unseen Hand of God: A Journey of Faith, Family, and Second Chances. Lupia and Associates, LLC, 2020.