Happy New Year! I, for one, am glad to see 2016 in the rearview mirror. It was a tough year plagued by illness, death and most recently, Janet’s fall and subsequent broken left arm. As most of you already know, it was quite a serious break – 8 or 9 screws and a plate were needed for the repair and I am pleased to report that late last week, Janet had her post op appointment with the surgeon.
He was thrilled with Janet’s progress and she won’t have to return for a follow-up until the end of January. That was great news! In fact, we were hoping for some good news. The holidays have been a little strange this year. Since Janet’s fall on December 17th, we have been thrown out of our normal rhythm for this time of year. Thankfully, the decorations were already up but we had not finished the shopping for our grandsons and rest of the family.
We were pleased to be able to do most of our shopping on the internet and we didn’t want our unfortunate circumstance to inconvenience the rest of the family. But, thank God, our daughter, Jill, arrived from Oklahoma the day that Janet got hurt. She was a tremendous help this past several weeks. And so were Andrew and Kristin. Andrew, who already works more than 60 hours a week was here whenever he could help out. And Kristin, who was getting ready for Christmas Eve services at her own church where she is on staff, and taking care of her own family, made time to help out whenever she could assist with anything.
In fact, never in our married life have Janet and I ever depended on our children the way we did this past month of December. In an odd way, it could have been a sneak preview of what our future (far out, I hope) may look like. But make no mistake, Janet and I like our independence and it took a little while to get used to the idea of people reaching out and helping us when we needed assistance.
And it wasn’t just our own kids. Flowers arrived in droves and people were dropping stuff off every day to us. If I wasn’t here to receive most of the gifts, I wouldn’t believe the outpouring of love and caring that we experienced. And people praying for us – I’m sure there were hundreds asking God for healing and relief from pain for Janet. Our very need was met. It really showed us how many people really do care about us. So many times, we get caught up in our own lives and tend to forget others who may need our help. But this time, we were on the other side of the equation and as difficult as it was to accept help, it was amazing to see the community of believers rally around us and lend support.
Our verse for tonight highlights how the apostle Paul taught the first century Christians to act toward one another. He tells them, in Colossians 3:12-14, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” We certainly saw all that, and more, first hand.
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to come to the aid of one another. We are to be sympathetic and bear one another’s burdens. My prayer is that you will experience the same outpouring of care, compassion, kindness and help that we received this past several weeks. It was truly awesome and both Janet and I appreciate the thoughtfulness and love that we have had from the community of believers. And for those who were praying for us, thank you! Janet is, for the most part, out of pain and on the road to recovery. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…