Giving a Holy Hand
"So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; it one part is honored, every part rejoices in it. Now you are the Body of Christ, and each one of you has a part in it."- I Corinthians 12:25-27
Summer is meant to be a time of sunshine, relaxing, enjoying family, and having a nice change of pace to the regular daily grind. Yet, Summer of 2016 took me on an unfamiliar road which I would like to name "Summer Bummer Avenue". Please don't get me wrong, the entire summer has not been all grey skies, as we are in the midst of an amazing journey towards a new church home, we experienced another amazing year of Vacation Bible School earlier this month, and there have even been some special moments for the Zwerling family. But in the midst of all of these things, most of my summer has been a health struggle. On Sunday, July 3rd I began feeling less than 100% (flu-like symptoms), which turned into Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) for over ten days, which culminated this past Sunday in having to leave church early and head over to the ER at Los Robles. All I can say is, "Yuck, yuck, and more yuck!"
As I write today I have turned a corner and have GOOD NEWS from Sunday. After this mysterious battle going undetected for over a month (which included two doctor visits), I have been diagnosed with an ear and sinus infection which is now being treated, and which I am greatly improving from. Plus, all of my blood work and other vitals came back clear and healthy (Thank you Jesus)! Now for the REALLY good news from Sunday. As I was at my lowest point, there was a true gift and true grace that came in the form of so many people from our church family. It started during worship at the 8:30 service as I was struggling just to stand on my feet that I opened my eyes to find Carlos Cojulun standing with me on the front row. As I put my arm around him, he said that he just wanted to worship with me. What a Holy Spirit moment, that God put that on Carlos' heart without knowing what I was battling. Then there was Ed giving me a hug and speaking blessing over me as he noticed something was not right; Mark Boltinhouse being with me in the office to be present for me as I was getting weaker and feeling worse. What a strength I experienced as the entire church (8:30 am service) surrounded me in prayer and as Pastor Othniel took on the assignment to bring God's Word. Then there was the amazing gift of peace that came in the form of Jean Boltinhouse (a retired nurse) who drove me to Los Robles, stayed with me at the ER, diagnosed my condition before the doctor did, answered my zillion questions, and drove me to get my prescription. Then on Monday the love train kept rolling as Diana Crowley helped get my car from church; Greg and Nancy Kosmatka were kind of enough to provide dinner for our family. In addition to these, I received countless emails and texts from our church family sending their prayers and thoughts.
Now if you have been attending our church for any significant amount of time this would not come as much of a surprise as "LOVE" has been one of the distinguishing staples that makes The Shepherd's House such a great place to worship, grow in faith, walk in love, and live in victory. In fact, one of our three pillars is to be a people that exhibit a GENUINE LOVE for one another.
This past Sunday reminded me how important each person is in the Church Body and how important it is for us to be a part of this amazing God composition (The Body of Christ wins first place in the universal science fair). As we look throughout the Bible we see that many individuals were key in contributing to and completing the Lord's work. In the Old Testament we read name after name of those who helped build the temple; who were key warriors in battle; and who were those who possessed the promise land. In the New Testament many of Paul's letters begins and ends by showing deep appreciation for those who served alongside him in ministry and cared for his various needs and challenges. At one point Paul says this in Philippians 1:3, "I thank my God every time I remember you." And of course there is the classic passage in Hebrews 11 known as the "Hall of Fame of Faith". As we read I Corinthians 12 we realize how God's plan is for us to be ONE and that each one is needed for us to be strong, healthy, and complete. This is communicated best in Jesus' prayer in the garden as He proclaims in John 17:22, "Father, I have given them the glory that You have given Me, that they may be one as We are one." This potent reality is then beautifully, graciously, and powerfully extended as we pray for one another, care for the needs of one another, forgive one another, and are present for one another. May this type of Genuine Love happen when we worship together on a Sunday; when we send an email/text to encourage someone through a tough time or to say how much we appreciate them; when we provide a need when others are lacking; and when we get together to enjoy life events like birthday parties, lunch dates, special church events, and home improvement projects.
I am not just feeling better, I am feeling great and it is not because of the medicine, the rest, and the clean bill of health, it is because of having YOU in my life. I have gone from Yuck, Yuck, and more Yuck to thank you, thank you, and thank you!