It’s a rainy and gloomy day here in Washington. A day that seems appropriate in some way for a funeral, and in fact one is being held this morning at my church. The sweet girl who passed away, Amy, was only forty years old, and she was diagnosed with cancer just last spring. I knew her more as an acquaintance, a friend of a friend, but what an impression she made! Her contagious joy was evident, and her service to the God she loved well-known. She went on many mission trips, serving and caring for people around the globe. I find it utterly perplexing that it was not God’s will for Amy to have some last-minute healing. He is Sovereign. He has a plan and it is good. But it is still beyond my understanding. I can trust Him and find His plan perplexing at the same time, and I do.
Yesterday I had a child with a snot level that exceeded churchability, so we stayed home. I had a few pages left to read in Max Lucado’s For the Tough Times and it seemed the right time to finish it up. It is good. If you’ve ever read him, you know. His writing is simple and true. It’s uplifting and biblical. Clearly, Lucado is gifted with words. But the subject is a hard one. Writing about tough times is…well, it’s tough. Lucado talks about God’s love for us and God’s faithfulness. He makes many wonderful and eloquent points. But there is one thing I found to be missing, and that is the vital role of other people. I think Lucado should remind his readers, most of whom are likely in the midst of a tough time, that an important lifeline, a major means of grace is provided through other believers. Yes, the Spirit of God ministers to us directly, but He also expects us to be comforted, by His grace, through others.
It is an incredible blessing to have godly people who love you, who pray for you, who even show up unexpectedly in your driveway, just like a pair of angels, right when you need them (you know who are you my fabulous and faithful angels). And I firmly believe that those kind of relationships are divinely orchestrated, that the relationships themselves are a gift of God to be treasured, but I also believe that God expects us to seek biblical community (I highly recommend reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together, which brilliantly outlines what biblical community looks like). But for starters we need to be intentional, and we need to stop pretending that we’ve got it all together, that the one man show thing is really working for us. I’m trying to better about this, but my natural inclination is to maintain the absurd facade that everything is positively peachy every minute of every day.
Natalie Grant has a beautiful song which speaks to this issue. I won’t tell you what it says. I’ll just tell you the title, Held, and it’s well worth $0.99, I assure you.
So my prayer this week is for Amy’s family and friends, that they will know the comfort of God Almighty and that they will be ministers of grace for one another. May all of us be increasingly faithful to recognize and fulfill one another’s needs.