I was pleasantly amazed to see the wonders that God is working in the families in our church, as various people related the positive changes between them and their loved ones this morning. One woman who was separated from her husband for years has now reported that they have moved into a house together again, and her daughters are very happy to see it. One reported how during his visit with his brother, he had seen glimmers of hope, that there wasn't the slamming of all things to do with faith, that he even acknowledged that he hadn't closed it out entirely and asked various questions about a church near his home. One had a visit from his sister who hadn't visited for a long time, and who was far friendlier than usual. One had a brother who had moved to the Czech Republic about 20 years ago, who was here to visit for the last few weeks and seemed more open and soft-hearted than in times past. One woman had a friend she was in physical training with, who was relating her views of her Greek Orthodox faith, and to whom for the present, she who normally has plenty to respond with had nothing to say...and the pastor had related how when we are called upon to speak, that the Spirit gives us the words...so she was assured in that that the timing for her to speak was not yet; and the pastor said that the Spirit also gives us a time to listen.
This plethora of good news is not the norm; especially such extreme good news! A couple who was separated, whose separation looked bleak at the outset, the wife of whom was going to serve her husband with papers but an illness prevented her. How phenomenal is that? How often does that happen? She never pursued serving papers further, and she is so glad. She calls their house a happy home now. What reason to rejoice!
The man's brother who has been asking about the church near his home, well, the glimmers feel like an answer to prayer. I have somehow been drawn to pray for this one more than others, so I feel an ownership or participation, a particular blessing, in this good news and it spurs me on to pray further--in praise, now, as well as pleading!
The one whose brother had gone to Czech Republic and returned for a visit gives me hope that someday I might see my brother who lives in Kingston, Ontario and who I haven't seen since about 19 years ago, just after I clobbered him with the gospel when I first became a Christian. Or maybe one of my other brothers or sisters who have shown no interest in the faith. The one who has a friend in the Greek Orthodox faith and is pondering the faith, well, she gives me hope that one day I may be able to converse about faith with a Mormon neighbor, or a Hindu neighbor, or a Sikh neighbor...it wasn't just the hope of existing situations, but the parallel situations in my life that so far might seem unworkable may become more workable than I can yet imagine.
These reasons for praise are encouragements for further prayer for the praises of the morning as well as for the hopes that they give me in my own life, that all these people would turn to Christ, that the tentative relationships might become established, that God would be glorified in them. God is good, and His light shines in the darkness. We can see that just because the dark has not understood it, that light is not pointless. Hallelujah!