I sat in a church pew this past week and read these words on banners hung above the pulpit, “God is good all the time”, while I watched that church fill with community members from the surrounding area as they came together in prayer for a local young man who is fighting a battle for his life. As we sang, read scriptures, and prayed, we all thought of times in our own lives when we were the ones standing in the need of prayer. Tragedies bring people from all walks of life to their knees, especially when it’s one of our children in need.
In a small rural community such as ours, we know these kids. We’ve seen their birth announcements, read their letters to Santa in the paper, heard them sing at school concerts, cheered for them in sports, and finally watched them walk down the aisle to receive their diplomas along with our own children as they ventured out into the world.
When we hear that they’ve had an accident or been diagnosed with some terrible disease, our hearts ache for the parents as we feel their pain and pray for God’s healing and for strength to get them through these difficult days.
We have community prayer services, soup suppers, and benefits to raise money for the family’s unexpected expenses. We text, email, watch for posts on Facebook and Caring Bridge to learn the latest news, as we silently pray throughout the day for it to be good.
We call our own children whether they live around the corner or miles away, just to tell them we love them, and if we still have kids at home, we may hug them a little longer before they walk out the door on their way to school, cherishing their healthy bodies and asking God to bring them safely home.
In today’s world, many of us feel like we are just a number to our government, our employers, and the people we do business with. I thank God that we live in a community where we are more than that, where a warm hand reaches out to clasp our own or someone gives us a hug when we so desperately need one. Where a neighbor shows up at the back door with a casserole to make sure you have a hot meal when you were just too tired to cook, or a simple card comes in the mail when you have almost lost hope that lifts your spirits and helps you hold on for one more day.
These are all precious things that some people in big cities never experience; the closeness and kinship that comes from facing life together here on the back roads where “God is good all the time”. Even when we don’t understand His plan, we have to trust His hand in whatever happens in our lives.
Please continue to keep Dayne Sturm and his family in your prayers, and if you can, please come to the Soup Supper being held on Sunday evening, Jan. 24th, from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. At the Hamburg United Methodist Church, 1200 Park St., Hamburg, IA. A Free Will donation will be taken to benefit the Sturm family.
– Debbie Dovel