The question raised in church that Sunday morning was, “Do you have an abundant life?”
To my left was a young family who has been in my life for more than 10 years.
Adam and Ronda Myers. Their oldest son, Elijah, diagnosed with ALD, recently underwent a bone marrow transplant and is still recuperating, but alive and well. Their younger son, Cyrus, was the donor. Their faith has been tested to the extreme, but they have come through this ordeal praising God.
Today was their first time back to worship in 11 months because of the threat of infection for Elijah. Through the sermon they sat side by side, with Cyrus stretched out on their laps and Elijah at Adam’s side. Family unity. Strength through trial.
Ronda beautifully sang praises to God, worshiping more expressively than anyone in the sanctuary. And she’s probably been through a more difficult year than anyone there.
To my right was my friend of more than 20 years, Kendra, home on furlough from her missionary life in Africa.
Her right jaw was bruised because she recently had a tooth pulled. When the she and her family return to the states, they receive every medical check up imaginable. A few years ago as she was about to return to Zambia, Kendra was diagnosed with breast cancer. Unnecessary at the time, but necessary since she would not have frequent check-ups, Kendra underwent a double mastectomy. As soon as she recovered, they immediately returned to Zambia to faithfully serve God.
She, her husband John and their two children have also been forced to leave the country with only the clothes on their backs. They’ve been held hostage, faced other medical conditions and watched their families back home go through crises, but they continue to serve and praise, and the Spirit works wonders in their lives.
In my mind was my family.
Two fine sons who serve God in their careers. A beautiful daughter-in-law who loves my son and is a wonderful mother to my granddaughter.
Two younger brothers who struggle but are finding their way. Two older sisters with faith that can move mountains. A mom and dad who would give anything they have to anyone who needs, though they have very few material belongings.
Four years ago, Dad was diagnosed with mantle-cell lymphoma. Stage 4. No one diagnosed has ever lived more than five years. According to medical tests, Dad is cancer free. A walking miracle.
Faith in each of us has increased. We believe in God’s power. We believe in miracles. Even if the cancer returns, the past four years have been an incredible blessing and testimony to God’s ability to heal . . . physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally.
I am surrounded by friends who pray with me and for me. They guide me when I lose my way. They advise me when I struggle. They love me in spite of my faults. They hold me when I cry, rejoice with me in happiness and walk beside me no matter what. I could call them any time of the day or night, and they would answer . . . and come to my rescue.
I live in a wonderful old, two-story farmhouse. The wallpaper is falling off the walls, and the roof has leaked numerous times, but it is home. The fire now burns in the fireplace, and I just finished a cup of hot tea. I am warm, well fed (too well fed), and I can look out my back window and still see the colors of autumn.
Beside my bed and beside my recliner are Bibles. I can freely read the Word of God, freely attend church, freely pray, freely praise, freely share my faith.
I teach at a Christian university where my students love to learn and learn to love. They come by just to say hello (and to get a piece of chocolate), and they are welcomed in my office. My co-workers and I love and respect one another. We are constantly given opportunities to learn, grow, develop. In our midst are great scholars, great thinkers, great believers, great lovers of God and man. And most are humble servants.
Every month I have a few extra dollars to give to those in need. I never go hungry, never go thirsty, never want for clothes to wear. I have been given the gifts of hospitality, encouragement, generosity and love. God has blessed me with a gift for writing, for taking beautiful photographs, for helping others.
Even if all of this is taken from me, I have a God who sees to my every need, who hears my cries, who answers my prayers. I have a God who forgives me, shows me more mercy than I could ever deserve, allows me to start each day afresh and never keeps track of my mistakes. I have a Savior who gave his life so I might live. And I have a Spirit that lives within me, convicts me of my error and leads me to grow, to believe, and to share my faith with others.
Do I live an abundant life? You bet.
© 2014 donnaarthurdowns