View From The Ridge
Over the past eight years of dealing with cancer I have learned a lot about love - from others. The first love is Agape, the love our Heavenly Father shows us on a daily basis, whether we are aware of it or not. I have been acutely aware of this love over the past 7 or 8 months as God and the Holy Spirit have guided me through various trials in order for me to be treated where He knew it would be best. Of course a set of written instructions would have been nice and would have saved me a lot of time and trouble but that is not His mode of operation. Never-the-less, I have been truly blessed by his abundant love more than I deserve.
The second love is Phileo love, a brotherly love of family and friends, of which again I have been richly blessed. My family have gone out of their way to make comfortable accommodations in our home away from home, taken time to be here to help when I was helpless in the hospital and the weeks following the surgery, not just driving cross town to help, but having to take time off from work and drive or fly a great distance to assist. Their love, support, prayers and concern have all made a difference in my recovery.
And last but not least, is the love of a church family. Jeri and I have been blessed with three church families, First Baptist In La Grande Oregon, Homestead country church in La Grande, and Grace Community in Kona, Hawaii. I cannot begin to count the number of e-mails, phone calls, visits, cards, gifts, books, articles that have been sent my way, all with encouraging notes and well wishes. You can’t believe how uplifting that can be on a day when you are feeling less than par. Thank you so much to all of you who have taken the time and effort to do those things. They have been so appreciated. I apologize for not acknowledging before but I just am now getting to where I can think clearly again.
But that is only a small part of God’s family that is showering me with love, prayer’s and support. There are over 140 names on my blog list but I will get over 300 or more hits with each post, from all over the world. I get readers from Russia, Ukraine, Europe, Asia, places that I don’t know anyone, yet the hits only show up when I post an article. Of the names on the blog list, most of them have their church, care group, Sunday school class, bible study group, prayer group with my name on their prayer list. This has to translate into thousands of people praying for me in my fight with cancer. What I can’t figure out is what in the world did I ever do to deserve such an out pouring of love? Obviously Nothing, because this kind of love comes from God and is then distributed through his loving and willing servants.
My question now is how on earth do people without family or church family make it through disasters, debilitating diseases or surgeries, family crises, everything that goes on around us on a daily basis? How do they cope with adversity? There is no way I would have made it through the last 8 years without the family and church support that I have received. I can’t imagine going through all of this with just the two of us.
Some of you may not have any family left. All the more reason to be part of a church family. Are you in a church where you don’t feel loved, then find one that will love you as you are. Believe me there are plenty of them out there.
God loves because that is His nature and the expression of His being. He loves the unlovable and the unlovely (us!), not because we deserve to be loved, but because it is His nature to love us, and He must be true to His nature and character. God’s love is displayed most clearly at the cross, where Christ, while we were yet sinners, died for us. The object of God’s agape love never does anything to merit His love. We are the undeserving recipients upon whom He lavishes that love. And He has lavished tons of that love on me through all of you who read or hear this message. Praise God! Hallelujah!!