Over the last month I've heard sermons on the Extravagant love of God. In my personal Bible reading and study the same theme is there as well. Yet, we are afflicted and weary as we battle my wife's cancer for a second time. We would not have chosen this battle in our lives again. And it seems even more burdensome to think of the statistics, to see my wife so tired or in pain and to think of all the interconnected details of life that hinge on one person's relationship with you. God has yoked Laina and me together: her pain, is my pain, her flesh is my flesh - yet I can do nothing but wait and pray for God to answer.
In the waiting, in the pain, through this storm of life, God is showing His Presence and extravagant love toward us. Through God's word's in Bible study and sermons, through the meals people keep bringing, through the clothing people have blessed my girls with (by the way we have more than enough now), through the fundraisers at Meadowbrook, in our community, Laina's workplace and so many other gifts and blessings of support and prayer, even from strangers, God is working through so many people! Yes, God does love us extravagantly! There is so much love that often I don't even know how to respond. We could never pay back such a debt of love!
Isn't that the type of extravagant love that God offers all of us? We can never pay God back for all of the blessings, of which salvation through Jesus is the greatest gift. We cannot pay for our own sins; Yet God paid for them through Jesus' death on the cross. We certainly deserve punishment for our wrongdoing, but Jesus took the punishment upon himself so that if we look to Him and see our need for forgiveness from our sin, we shall be saved.
I don't know the outcome of all of this suffering on this side of heaven. But I do know God loves us extravagantly. God will make good out of this bad. As I recently read in a book entitled, Reading Your Life's Story,
"Our story is written to be read again; my life belongs to others just as much as it belongs to me."
In faith I am attempting to face fear and become more vulnerable. I am willing to do this because in the broken places of my life I know there will be healing, comfort and encouragement for others. Somehow through our story of endurance and suffering we will be able to offer hope to others; not a hope that is found in hope itself, but a hope that is found only in Jesus.
There is something that has struck me as we go through this cancer journey. Many other people are going through a similar journey of struggle all around us. Are they loved as extravagantly as we are being loved? Our communities have surrounded us with love. We are part of the body of Christ (the church), those who believe in Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. I believe a lot of the love we are experiencing is because we are in this community and have served in this community for years. Others who are not believers are loving us too, but I am confident Jesus' love endures forever.
Let's not forget about others around us daily who may be struggling. Will you love them extravagantly as God has loved you? You just may be the answer to their prayers.
Keep praying for Laina's healing! We know in whom we have put our trust!
In faith, hope and extravagant love,
Here you will find updates, thoughts, discussion and prayers for my life and ministry...