Last week at church our pastor (Jeff Manion) told us about a friend who is battling with leukemia. This man couldn’t contain the joy and love he felt as he continued to tell Jeff how so many Christian families have come along side his family and shown incredible love and support; meals dropped off every other night, help with decorating for the holidays, and countless other ways. This man felt the love and support from other Christ-like followers like never before and he said to Jeff, “If we behaved like this all the time, people would be begging to be apart of this,”
Sitting next to each other that Sunday morning, Chris and I turned and both looked at each other and smiled because Jeff was also talking directly about our family as well. I can’t even begin to start listing all the ways that other believers have helped us and given of themselves in incredible ways. I have received several cards some with cash and gift cards for considerable amounts and they are from other mom’s that have never even met me before but have heard what our family is going through and want to do something. The school that Chris and I both teach had hosted a pancake breakfast last year when I was pregnant with Gabby, taking care of four foster kids and Chris was in the hospital. A non profit community woman’s group, ladies from all different churches and all different backgrounds, organized the event and raised close to $10,000 for our family! Looking back, that was crazy! Then there are those who come right to the hospital at just the right time when I need them and I am strengthened immensely because it is real self-sacrificing love.
It could be that there are some who help that have other reasons for doing so besides the love of God that is in them but its not the majority. Its when a parent of one of Chris’s former students shows up at our ER room right when I am emotionally exhausted from doing this for the forth time in 6 weeks and is there to help me get Chris admitted instead of being told, “go home there is nothing we can do for him”. Its being given a huge box of diapers, never knowing who they were from. Its hearing about churches, of people all over our state, praying for us.
I John 3: 16-18 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
This is real love and this is the real church.
How can we do this better all the time? Really the key to witnessing is; find people in need, pour on them God’s love that lives in and through us and love them more then ourselves. The loving them more then ourselves is the hard part. I also know from our own lives and how it has changed that showing others who God really is and how He loves comes from being able to rejoice in the suffering we are experiencing. It is terrifying feeling like you are being hurled off a cliff and the end is coming up real soon, but it is also incredibly amazing and comforting being hurled off a cliff but held tight in the arms of the almighty sovereign God. I believe that when others can see that, see us falling off that cliff surrounded by the arms of God and we are not freaking out, we are actually at peace and we trust in who holds us, then people are going to look at us and think that that is weird; weird but good.
Imagine with me . . . if you are a “Christian”, you decide right now to do 2 things. First thing, when suffering and trials hit you, you decide to trust God and welcome the suffering in order to experience his love and closeness like never before. Second thing, when suffering and trials hits someone in your church family, you decide to show them the love of God in every possible way in order that trusting God and welcoming the suffering becomes way easier for them. Not only will self-sacrificing love like this help whoever is experiencing the suffering, but it will create a tight knit family who would do anything for each other. Then, and only then, will God himself be able to be revealed through us to the rest of the world.
(Sorry if there are grammar mistakes- Its 4 in the morning and I couldn’t sleep. I’m mainly apologizing to my husband who is a English teacher.)