Thank God For The Church

20 09 2007

by NORMAN S. LAO

Personal Narrative

My mother-in-law was admitted at the Iloilo Mission Hospital last July 28 for her first Chemotherapy session.  She’s going to undergo six sessions in all. Mom has fully recovered from her colon cancer operation a month prior to this. That week all her laboratory exams, required before undergoing chemotherapy, came in negative. She was fine. She was ready.  Her five days at the hospital passed by without incident.  The medicines for her chemo, her attending physician assured us, will not have the usual side-effects like loss of hair and severe nausea. 

Early on her fifth day, however, mom sent an SMS message to us at home telling us that she was having severe pains in her stomach. We prayed for her, but did not take it very seriously since she was already at the hospital, so we thought.

As the day wore out we were received mixed messages from the hospital (I was not able to visit mom because she was in  reverse isolation and I had mumps).  At dusk my wife entered our room crying. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that mom’s abdomen was enlarging. My mind raced. We had several members in the past who died of cancer and the common symptoms just before they passed away was a bloated stomach. I thought, “Lord, not mom. Not now.” 

I sent out text messages to several church folks asking them to go to the hospital to pray for mom even if they have to do it outside her room (reverse isolation prevented visitors from getting into her room). Many responded to the call and they interceded for mom at the hospital corridor. After the church prayed the doctor discovered what was wrong with her and proceeded to deal with it accordingly. After a few days of observation she was discharged and was restored to us.  Praise God!

Reflection

When Peter was imprisoned in Acts 12 the whole church prayed for him and he was miraculously restored to them.  Didn’t Jesus promise to be in the midst of his people when they gathered together in his name? And didn’t he promise to do whatever we ask if we agree on it? (Matthew 18:19,20)  The church, as a community of believers, is one of our best support systems (after our family), a source of encouragement and faith (Hebrews 10:24).  There are times when we are discouraged and in doubt, especially when we are in trouble, but the fellowship and ministry of the church strengthens us and helps us focus on the Lord Jesus Christ instead of on our hopelessness to face our problems.  Thank God for His church!

Prayer

Father in heaven, thank you so much for the church. Help us to appreciate it more and help us to commit our life to the preservation and propagation of it. Help your people not to complain about the imperfections of your church, but help us to learn to appreciate and value its benefits in spite of its weaknesses and shortcomings. In your name, Amen.

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