Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am writing to thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for the love, prayers, and kind words of encouragement you have shared with me in the months since my diagnosis of MS. In the last few weeks my body has reached a tolerable level of adjustment to treatment. Although I still have difficulty due to the medication, it is not nearly as debilitating. It is now possible to commute to work on a regular basis again, and to interact normally with others for most of the day, when previously I could only do so for a few hours.
I believe that we should encourage each other with accounts of God’s presence in our lives and to report the fruits of intercession and loving relationships. This honors Him and gives us hope, confidence, and strength for the future. We should never take love for granted, nor His answers to our prayers. When we report back to each other, we can be assured that He hears us when we pray. We can be assured that He has not abandoned us, that He has in fact sent us the Comforter, and that we can indeed rely on Him. We have His joy, strength, and peace when we live in this mindset, no matter what.
Jesus said, “You will have troubles in this world, but take heart, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The apostle Paul did not shy away from the difficulties and weaknesses he experienced, but rather, regarded them as an opportunity to know Christ more intimately (2 Cor 12:9-10). Paul learned to draw strength, joy, and the capacity to endure from complete reliance on the Father in every situation (Gal 2:20-21, 2 Cor 4: 7-18). “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not quench” (Isaiah 42: 1-3).
The Lord “gently leads those who are with young,” “carries the lambs in His arms” (Isaiah 40:11) and “suffer[s] the children to come unto me” (Luke 18:16). This is a God who says that we are loving Him when we visit those who are in prison, tend to the sick, share clothing and resources with those who lack, and food with those who hunger (Matt 25: 34-40). If we give “even a cup of cold water” to a little child, we “will not lose [our] reward” (Matt 10: 42);
yet we love not for the promise of reward, but because “He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Though we have need of endurance in this life, “the work you do for the Lord is never in vain” (1 Cor 15: 58).
So to each of you, thank you for showing love to me, and may the Lord continue to pour out His Spirit and favor upon you, “for with the measure you give, so you will receive; a good measure, not pressed, but overflowing” (Luke 6:38).
I remain your grateful Sister in Christ.