From the beginning of their relationship together, our son and daughter-in-law kept Christ at the center of their marriage and life; so when Branson came along in 2007 with all the medical challenges, they had the full support of both sides of the family. More than that, they had prayers and the love of Christ to see them through. Having Christian families on both sides means there is a constant during the storms of life, and that one constant is God's Word. When we have a solid foundation on which to build our relationships, they will remain strong.
Just as all the family members gathered to celebrate their wedding, so once again, everyone assembled this time to uphold them in their loss. However, beyond the immediate families, there were brothers and sisters in Christ who offered food, support, encouragement and kindness. This is not something we see in the world around us. While people may offer to help during a crisis, they often do not stick around long after the event has passed. Yet, in the Body of Jesus Christ, there is a support system that serves to undergird the believer throughout the journey of faith.
Here are just a few of the verses that speak of the riches of Christian fellowship:
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." I Thess. 5:11
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25)
"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17)
"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matt. 18:20)
When we experience the sweet fellowship of other believers, we are encouraged and that was never more clear than this past week when the Body of Christ surrounded us with the love of the Lord. First and foremost, I am thankful for the precious testimony to the love of Christ in my precious daughter in law's family. We are united in our purpose to serve the Lord and to support one another. Then, I am humbled and grateful for brothers and sisters who took the time to call, write, hug, encourage, stimulate and assist when we needed them so much. Until we find ourselves in a situation of great need, we forget that other Christians really are the hands and feet of Jesus bringing comfort where it is needed most.
Life has many storms and our boat can often spring a leak. Thank goodness our Lord did not leave us by ourselves to do the repairs. He has placed us in a family of believers who demonstrate His love by reaching out to us when we need a helping hand. It doesn't take a village to help raise a child, heal a wound or provide for needs. It takes, instead, the family of Jesus Christ to help us finish the race well. May we be mindful of this the next time we hear about a crisis, tragedy, or circumstance that we might be able to demonstrate the love of Christ. Selah!