I hope you all had a wonderful weekend filled with gratitude, family, and friends. Ours was truly special, and I am very thankful indeed. We spent five days with our family of nine, all together under one roof -- our five kids plus Christina and Nadia. As parents, there's really not much more we could have asked for. Everyone spent hours together, genuinely enjoying one another's company. Laughing. Reminiscing. Working. Serving others. Praying. Worshipping. Giving thanks. And eating. Throughout the holiday, Jill and I frequently remarked to each other how blessed we are, and how kind the Father has been to us. In addition to these special times together, we were also given the wonderful gift of including others in our family circle each day.
Thursday's Thanksgiving Family Fun Day was a beautiful success. People gathered from the boiler room and other churches, ORU, the streets, and even some from out of town. Once again, believers and unbelievers, rich and poor, homeless and suburbanites, all came together in a profound family atmosphere, immersed in the grace and the love of Jesus. We ate turkey and pies and drank plenty of coffee. We joked around, played games, had meaningful conversations, and shared what we're thankful for. It would be vain to try to give shout outs to all who deserve mention, but you know who you are. Thanks for all the hard work, the vision, the prayers, the donations, the time, etc. You all are amazing.
Yesterday was the beginning of Advent, and it was really wonderful to gather together for prayer. The theme of the week is hope, and I am praying the gift of hope for each of you this week. Hope is an essential Christian perspective, and the coming of Jesus means we are never truly without it. Remember, we will be getting together each Sunday evening throughout Advent at 6:15 pm.
As many of you are aware, Floyd McClung, who has been a significant influence in my life and in some ways in the boiler room, has been sick in the hospital in South Africa now for something like nine months. He is conscious, but cannot communicate. May days he appears to be suffering significantly. His wife, Sally, writes a brief daily update on how he is doing, helping to direct prayer for him and also chronicling her own journey of faith. As you can imagine, it's been an unimaginably difficult time for her. However, in the midst of her struggle, her writing has encouraged me many times. Today was one of those, and I'm copying her letter here....
Dear Praying Friends and Ministry Partners,
Floyd has been very upset and agitated off and on. I'm not sure why. It's hard to see him like this. He was moved to another room because of the renovations, so maybe that is unsettling him. Please continue to pray for peace and calm in his spirit.
His cough has been better the last couple days. I'm praying that is a permanent improvement.
Someone sent me the following post by Anne Graham Lotz:
"Do you sometimes cry out, as I have, "God, don't You see my tears? Don't you see my broken heart" God, never mind me, but how can You bear to see the agony of my loved one? God, I know that You care. I just don't understand why You don't intervene in this situation right now. Why don't You do something?
Then to my heart, I seem to hear His still, small voice whispering, "Anne, trust Me. I know what's best." And I'm left to wonder why I think I know better than God what's best for me or my loved one."
Her father, Billy Graham, is 98 years old and going through a "long goodbye." I assume she is referring to him.
I could so identify with her heart, her cry, her wondering. I don't understand the waiting with Floyd's situation either. Waiting is hard. I have to keep coming back to the same thing. God knows what's best.
In his book "Waiting" author Ben Patterson says there are 2 virtues required for successful waiting - humility and hope. Humility teaches us that we exist for God's sake, not for our own - but for His purposes. Hope assures us that there is something worth waiting for.
I'm praying that I'll have the humility to bow to God's purposes on this journey - and the hope to keep looking to Him for what He has planned.
"With humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:2
"Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life."
"But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:25
"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength." Isaiah 40:31
"The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love." Psalm 147:11
When my heart hurts over Floyd's situation, over what he goes through - I have to keep focused on trusting God. I do trust Him.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.