When our lives were turned upside down, we called our families. Then we called the church. The entire week was hellish, dotted with one discouraging doctor’s appointment after another. By the end, my blood pressure had skyrocketed and neither of us were sleeping very well. My brain was the first thing to go. Sitting down to write a grocery list took more mental energy than I had. We had just returned from traveling for Thanksgiving. There was laundry everywhere and the cupboard was empty. So when one of the guys from Steven’s men’s group called that Friday after we received the initial news and asked, “Is there anything we can do?” we answered, “Meals!”
The next night, they brought pot roast, meat loaf and vegetables to last us through the weekend. They put their arms around us and prayed for us. We were so glad we asked.
As we’ve asked for help, we’ve met some disappointment. People are imperfect. They have their own problems. Often, they don’t even realize they’ve disappointed us. But for the most part, the church has rallied around us, feeding us and praying for us through one very tough week that began one very long and tough path.
It was difficult to ask. The fear of becoming too much of a burden, of being misunderstood, of having your crisis invalidated, is enough to quiet anyone. I have written in the past how disappointing the Church can be, and how much I recognize my own role in disappointing my brothers and sisters as part of the Church. It was a big step to ask, to stand before my congregation with tears in my eyes asking for prayer, to answer the question, “If there’s anything we can do…” with “Actually, there is.” By asking, I gave my church the chance to hurt me, not because I’m foolish, but because I have a Healer who is bigger than the Church. As I gave them a chance to hurt me, I also became open to her beauty, the Church in all her glory, working as one Body. I am so grateful that they have done the latter. What a beautiful congregation we have! What a beautiful part of the Church!
My grandmother wrote to me recently that Sam is “calling Christians and churches into account.” What a significant little person he is! Simply because he exists, he has drawn the love of the Church to the surface, showcasing her beauty. The Lord is pleased with how she has loved Sam.
As you pray for Sam, ask for his healing, but be open. God has a unique plan for Sweetpea Sammy, as Steven and I call him, and it may be even bigger than we imagine. Pray for his physical and spiritual protection. Pray that his life will be blessed, however long that may be. Pray for Steven’s and my hearts as we begin to walk a path that has barely begun for us.