It was a little after 3:00am when her iPhone started going off. Neither of us were able to rouse ourselves out of deep slumber before it quit and landline (yes, we still have one!) was blaring loudly. As a pastor, any call at 3:00am isn’t good. When your wife’s father is dying of bone cancer, it certainly isn’t good.
Cathy got to the phone and the message was clear – she and I were headed to WI as her dad was “actively dying” we were told. We lay in bed trying to figure out what to do and how to go about doing it… It was Sunday morning, early, and I was slated to preach. Does she go alone? Does she fly or take a train? Do we both go early? Do we wait until after church? Who will take care of the kids?
Decision: We will drive together, she wants me with her, after church. We will get someone to come and stay with the kids so it is as least disruptive for them as possible.
Experiencing Christ’s love through the Church is an amazing thing. I love the Church!
I sent a text out to a couple of people to see if they can come hang with the kids overnight. Neither one responds. It’s 4:00am after all! So in a couple hours I call and wake one of them up. She freaks out hearing her pastor’s voice at this time in the morning. However, she is able to pull herself into consciousness and our two-day profound experience of Love in action begins.
What does that kind of love look like? It looks like God’s children interrupting their own lives in order to serve others. It looks like Jesus. It looks like this.
Jesus’ love showed up in Rochelle. Setting aside whatever else she may have had going on that day & night, she takes on being fully responsible for the four teens in our home. It showed up in her playing Yahtzee by candlelight and sleeping in a cold house because the massive storm the wrecked whole towns in Illinois swept through West Michigan too.
Jesus’ love showed up in Tom. On Sunday evening when we hear from the kids that they have no power, he promptly responds to my text from WI which said, “if still out in the am, would you fire up the generator for me?” He says, “yes.” No hesitation. So on the 18th anniversary of his marriage to Julie, he spends hours getting my generator running, getting extra gas for it and running extension cords to all the necessities in the house.
Love showed up in Nanette and Steve. I got a text early Monday morning from my daughter Hayley, “no power, no water, no school – what do we do?” It’s not even 5:30am in WI after a long night of little sleep! What do they do…?!? Another early morning text and not only do they let my kids run over to shower and warm up – they took them in for the whole day, fed them, AND when wegot back from WI later that evening, opened their home to my family to sleep someplace warm!
Jesus’ love showed up in Niki. The consummate taxi driving mom of four, in all the busyness of her own family “post-storm,” loves on us by hauling my daughter around so she can still get to dance for her Nutcracker rehearsals.
Cathy’s dad did pass away just before we got to his bedside. But that’s ok. He went to be with Jesus and over the last several months deep reconciliation had taken place. Everything that
needed to be said was said. He is with Jesus.
In the midst of the loss of Cathy’s dad, we never lost peace. Why? Love. Loved showed up in our lives.
When God’s people choose love – there is a tangible shift in reality.
Everybody you meet today is facing a battle of some kind… Who are you actively loving today?