During this season of suffering, so many of you have poured your love into me just like a warm spring rain. Cleansing. Refreshing. Comforting. Life-giving. You keep me from spiraling down in the dark abyss of isolation. You breathe life into me.
Sometimes it is through a cry, a hug, a quiet sigh, a good word. Sometimes it is a laugh, a funny story, silliness, some good natured teasing. It may be a story to distract, a moment to reminisce, a task to accomplish. A phone call, a text, a visit, an email, a card – all coming at the precise moment I need them most. This could be nothing less than the heart and mind of God, working through His people, working through you to bring comfort in time of need.
I have yet to answer many of your expressions of love. Yet none are forgotten. All are treasured. My life has been forever changed by the way you have wrapped your arms around Warner and me, walking together with us during this time.
There are days when I feel like I’m in Rephidim when the Amaleks came and fought with Israel (Exodus 17). It is as if I am standing on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand. God uses that staff to win great battles. This time the battle is not against Israel’s enemies but against mine, namely fear, anxiety and self pity. When I grow tired and so very combat weary, it is not Aaron and Hur who give me a place to sit and hold up my hands. It is you. You keep me steady and victorious against the voices that speak death inside my head.
Other days I feel like Mephibosheth, the son of King David’s best friend Jonathan and the grandson of his worst enemy Saul. I am crippled and lame from a fall that was no fault of my own. I am not standing on the top of a hill. There is no staff in my hand. Yet even so, you lift me up to the table. You show me God’s kindness and compassion. Along with Mephibosheth I ask, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?” (2 Samuel 9)
Then there are days when I am the paralytic that you tirelessly carry to Jesus. You remove all the obstacles keeping me from Him. You bring me to Jesus, face to face. It is your faith in Him that takes the necessary steps to bring me to Jesus on those days when I cannot move. (Matthew 9, Mark 2)
I see how very weak and fragile I am. I am poor in spirit. I am desperate for more of God. There are moments when I hold my breath and then literally freeze up. The pain is sharp and deep. I have neither the strength nor the courage to exhale. But miraculously somehow I do. It is not from my effort. It is the Lord’s. Oftentimes, it is through the strength that God has given you that you in turn choose to share with me. This is the church at work in perfect harmony. It is not a building. It is people, in tune with their Lord.
Thank you. I know those words sound trite and common, especially in light of your extraordinary and rare gift to us. But they are all I have to give right now. They are sincere from my heart.
Perhaps you don’t realize the impact your words and actions may have. Perhaps you think you do nothing, or very little or that it has gone unnoticed. But the power of reaching out beyond oneself in the Spirit is immeasurable, no matter if it is one millimeter or one mile.
Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth…. Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. Hosea 6:3, 10:12
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God…. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. 1 Corinthians 1:3-7, 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17