Carry each others’ burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2 NIV
A couple years ago, we had the opportunity to go, as a family, on a missions trip. It was a joyous experience that made a lasting impression on all of us. On that trip, we met a family who has continued to have an impact on us.
Pastor Rod and his wife Kim come from a small town in Alabama. They have four kids, two of whom were also on the missions trip. The talks we had with them while there were the kind that grab your heart and strengthen your faith in Christ. I left the week feeling like they would be friends forever.
Through social media, we have been able to keep in touch with this sweet family, learning what is going on in their lives, supporting them with prayer, and watching the kiddos grow via the Internet. It has been wonderful.
This past spring, I realized just what a blessing this family was…and what a gift God had given us in them.
Another dear friend and his family were having a hard time. Their middle son was very, very ill, and not expected to make it. My heart was breaking for them, and I could not get there to be with them, to hug them, to pray with them.
You see, they were in…Alabama.
Desperate to provide some comfort, I messaged Rod, asking how close he lived to them. Rod said he lived a couple hours away and that he and his family would be praying for our friends, even though they did not know them.
I thought perhaps that would be the end of it. But I underestimated Rod. He sent me his schedule, telling me he would be able to go visit on a day later in the week, should I need him to go represent me to this family in crisis.
I cannot express the joy it gave me to know I had “boots on the ground” should anything happen to that sweet little boy. With tears in my eyes, I thanked this brother, knowing that because he loved me as a sister in Christ, and he loved my friends because I loved them.
Isn’t that the way Jesus lived while He was here on this planet? He healed a centurion’s servant and raised a widow’s son because of the love others had for them (see Luke 7). He saw the masses and had compassion on them (see Matthew 9:36). He mourned the death of Lazarus for Mary and Martha’s sake, even though He planned to raise him from the dead (see John 11). He cared because they cared.
And this Christ-like attitude is what I saw in Pastor Rod.
What sweetness there would be on this planet if we all approached life in that way, loving those who were loved by somebody, even if not by us directly!
The end of the story: God is so gracious and kind that He healed my friends’ little boy. Praise Him for that! And I was able to share that with Rod. And we gloried together at the works of God’s hand…yet another sweetness of this friendship.
Dear Father, You call us to be there for each other in all sorts of ways and for all sorts of purposes. We thank You that You give us the example of how to do that. We thank you for friends who can share our triumphs and our sorrows, whether they are personally involved or not. We thank You for loving friends like Rod and his family who see our hearts when we meet them and hold onto them when we part. That is what family of God is about, Lord, sweet fellowship. Thank You for loving us enough to give us glimpses of it here on earth. In Jesus’ Name, amen.