We’ve been the tempest-tossed, wearied from the wounds and the worry. Our strength has faltered; our will has failed us.
But not God. God did not forsake, or falter, or leave, or deny, or hide, or fail. God came running.
And we felt His arms stretch out and hold us tight through you. Yes, you … you came running. You are God reaching out to us.
You, dear hearts, were the ones padding up our front sidewalks, or right into our inboxes, or down to the mailbox at the end of this country lane. Your words and prayers and graces have found their way here, emancipating us in the most broken hours, helping calm the storm that rages.
Some of you live right here, just down the road. We worship with some of you on Sunday mornings, or see you next to the milk cooler at the grocery store, where you hold us long and pray right there in front of every shopper.
You deliver love in 9×13 pans, and you nestle joy at the front step — homemade jam in glass jars.
Others of you? You live far away. I don’t know if I’ll ever meet you this side of Heaven, but you also helped us put broken pieces together. You’ve rejoiced when we rejoiced. And you’ve wept when we’ve wept.
You’ve pinned our prayers to bulletin boards, and delivered hope the old-fashioned way: through the mail.
We’ve read your emails, every one of them. And we’ve wept over the way God loves us through you. (And to you — the ones who stand with us quietly with your prayers but never told us you prayed — we thank you, too.)
This is the beautiful, mystical body of Christ.
How can we ever thank you?
Four weeks ago, life was upended on an Iowa highway when two cars collided, sending life topsy-turvy. One of my nephews was the driver. Another nephew was critically injured. Two others in the car were hurt. One girl died.
Our family held onto each other, in antiseptic rooms, and we found God in the midst of our embrace. We’ve unwrapped grace in unexpected places, delivered from Texas and Louisiana and Kentucky and Washington.
One of you wrote this: “You are not alone, not ever … Your family in Christ is way bigger than you can imagine.”
Last night, we found our Running-To-Us God again — this time at the front door, marked priority.
A woman in Louisiana made two prayer shawls — one for my nephew Brennan, and the other for my sister Lynda, whose son was just released from the hospital on Saturday.
In a letter, she wrote of the family of Christ: “Across the continent or around the globe, your extended family has prayed for you and will continue to do so.”
We wrap ourselves up in your words, and your prayers, and your shawls, and your promises. And no thank you is adequate enough for your encouragement — all of it marked high priority. All of it, special delivery from God.