In a suburban city just a bit off the the beaten path of shops, strip malls, and interstate ramps you find a small corner that seems to be stuck in time. Among the office complexes and busyness of life is this pocket of corn fields, tree farms, an equestrian center and a picturesque little church building.
Several years ago the small church had dwindled. Through a series of events and the passing of time they were left with only two members who were more times than not the only two attendees to the small church. Not only were they members of the same church but they were sisters who lived together and are as close as could be. You almost can’t say one of their names without saying the other. They are inseparable.
Many Sundays they would arrive at the church with no pastor and no guests. They would unlock the doors, sing a few songs and pray together so if someone were to show up the doors would be open.
Through a providential series of events the Lord led me and my wife to this church. We were unanimously voted in as pastor though one of the sisters was homesick and had to write in her vote. Over the past 5 years, God has knit our hearts to these ladies in a manner that cannot be described. I am aware that pastors aren't supposed to have favorites but I think you can understand the circumstances that these two are something more than just members of our church, they are our family. In the early days of our ministry and even today, there are many events that others aren’t able to attend but the sisters are always there. Through physical ailments, they will come out in poor weather to invite people to church. They have been so patient, loving and kind to a young pastor who makes a plethora of mistakes.
Over the past few weeks, one of these dear saints of God has been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. The doctors have given her a year to live. Her faith and confidence in the God she has spent her life loving and serving is completely unshaken. In her dark moments, her compassion for others is a vivid as ever and her joy in serving Jesus is just as evident. The days ahead will present their challenges and unless God in His infinite wisdom decides to work a miracle here on earth we will soon have to say “see you later” to our dear friend.
As a young child, our friend realized that no matter how sweet or kind she could be she was still a sinner in need of a Saviour. She called on the name of the Lord and accepted Jesus Christ as her only hope for going to heaven when this life ends. This singular moment has brought lasting peace through some of the most trying circumstances of her life and is the foundation that is supporting her life through these trials.
Perhaps today there is someone you know who is facing difficult days, maybe it’s you. May I encourage you to face your dark valleys with the love of God, faith in His plan and joy of knowing that if you are a child of God your heavenly Father knows what you face.