Periods of pain or suffering provide unique witnessing opportunities to a watching world as genuinely concerned family and friends listen in a way they otherwise might not. During my second bout with cancer this year, the Lord has ministered to myself and my family in many ways – none of them more tangible than the acts of love coming from the body of Christ. You have made it easy for people in my life - but outside the church – to see the love that exists in our church family, and the provision our Lord whom we seek to glorify. Thank you!
Jesus told us that “all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). John solidifies the point: “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another…” (1 Jn 3:23). Thank you, saints for your faithfulness to our King and for the way you’ve loved us when we need it most! Praise God with me as I recount just a few of the blessings that have left us feeling like our cup is overflowing!
For months you have been providing meals that have allowed me to meet obligations at work and home during endless treatment appointments and unpleasant chemotherapy side-effects. For months we have received notes, calls, and messages of encouragement – and an extra hand whenever we needed one. During multiple long stints away from home – including several weeks apart from my family – we’ve had: our woodpile stocked, grass cut, garden and chickens taken care of, plumbing and furnace fixed, rides given to fix broken vehicles, and many other “small” things that are anything but small in the way they have ministered to us.
Cards, emails, messages and phone calls of encouragement, teaching, and admonishment have helped us keep perspective, and centered us in God’s love and provision. I’ve worshiped with many of you even while I’m far away – psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing together with thankfulness in our hearts to our great God. Care packages have kept me healthy and happy (who isn’t encouraged by chocolate?) – and never feeling alone.
Thank you, brothers and sisters – our true family - for showing us once again what Christian love looks like, especially with the non-believers in our lives listening and looking on. This is how it’s supposed to be in the midst of our broken and lost world. May the Lord compel all of us to continue find opportunities to wash one another’s feet, following the command and example of our Lord and Teacher (Jn 13:14). We were made for this!