Our Faith Family
“It began with a call from the doctor in December that the white blood cells were elevated. Soon the diagnosis of chronic Lymphoma Leukemia came followed by a diagnosis of a large tumor in the liver.” My friend, Theresa, went on to say that from the beginning she and her husband were so blessed to have so many people from church praying, sending cards and being their family. This was especially important to them because they have no children and no living parents. Their church has truly been their family through all of this, even through this time of social distancing. 1 Thessalonians 5: 11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
While all of the testing, procedures and medical bills were escalating, they were overwhelmed causing mental and physical exhaustion. All through this they continued to pray and knew God was in control. They also knew He was the God of miracles. In Theresa’s box, at work, she found a small pink envelope with a gift of cash. The card said, “Please take care of yourselves. God loves you and so do we.” She fell into a chair and wept. She called her husband to tell him and he was taken aback. She did not know who to thank but before they hung up they prayed thanking God for this most generous person.
Theresa told me that since this began everyone had been so faithful in letting them know they were praying for them. Romans 12: 10-13, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” She said they have gotten so many virtual hugs through all of this! Every night as they pray they thank God for all of those prayer warriors that help them get through each day. They feel truly blessed. She kept saying she does not know who that generous person was but they are so thankful. I told her, I believe they did not put their name because it is from God. God nudged them and they were obedient. John 13: 34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
What is a “church family”? It is the people above who pray for you, love you and support you - all in the name of Jesus. It is a family that I belong to, a home where I am loved and a hospital where I find healing. Ephesians 2: 19, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household…” It is a place where I am challenged. While you are not saved by going to church, as Pastor Tim recently reminded us, we are made for community. Christianity is not a solitary religion. As Philip Yancey says, “I go to church as an expression for my need for God and for God’s family.” The Bible tells us about needing fellowship. Hebrews 10: 25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” We need encouragement from one another and we need to have our views checked by other Christians. Another reason we need to “go to” church is because Jesus said, when two or more are gathered He is in their midst. Matthew 18: 20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” To continue effectively in the things of God we must be in some type of fellowship with other Christians. Our church meets that need!
What can we do during this time of isolation for others? Prayer is the greatest gift you can give someone. 1 John 4: 7, Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.“ Galatians 6: 10, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Church is not something we just go to. It is a family we belong to! Family, faith and friends - for these we give thanks!