Witnessing The Hands and Feet of Christ
This past week, a terrible tragedy struck the congregation where I grew up. A young mother of two suddenly passed away from complications of a rare blood disorder. Waves of shock and grief quickly rippled through her circle of family and friends. But in the midst of this horrible event, I have been witnessing the church living out their calling to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
When the news first came out that this woman was fighting for her life, I saw a call to prayer go out all across social media. I saw Christians immediately respond, both with written and spoken prayers. I saw people drop what they were doing and drop to their knees, pleading with the Father on behalf of someone they didn’t even know.
When word came that she had lost her physical battle, again I saw many praying. Anguished prayers of hurt and sorrow. Intercessory prayers for comfort for her loved ones. Joyful prayers of thanksgiving that she would receive her heavenly reward. Hopeful prayers that God would be glorified through this trial.
I witnessed her friends comforting each other. Older women encouraging and mothering the younger women. Acquaintances sharing memories of how she had touched their lives.
And I saw the church spring into action, stepping in to help care for her children, to bring meals, to provide for whatever the family might need immediately and in the days to come.
“Mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15)
On Sunday morning, I sat in the pew, surrounded by fellow Christians. As we sang, prayed, and worshiped our God, I saw the pain on faces around me. But once again, I witnessed what it means to live in community, to let Christ shine through their compassion on each other.
Men prayed for this family. Tissues were passed to wipe tears away. Scriptures were read, reminding us all of the hope we have of heaven. Friends shared hugs, husbands tenderly consoled their wives, and parents cuddled their children just a little longer that morning.
Later, I witnessed elders and other men of the congregation surrounding this young man who had just lost his wife. They laid their hands on him, prayed over him, and wept with him.
Perhaps the most touching sight was a young teen who left her pew and went to where the children sat. As tears streaked their faces, she hugged them, wiped away their tears, and stayed with them for the rest of the service. At that moment, the authenticity of these Christians’ faith struck me. Their compassion was evident to all, from the oldest members to the youngest.
In the midst of a terrible situation, I have witnessed the church, both near and far, act as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. From physical needs to emotional support to spiritual comfort, these people made manifest the true work of the church. As 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT) says:
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
Spur One Another On
Although I did not personally know this young mother, her passing has impacted and influenced my faith. By witnessing how the local church stepped up and ministered to her family and friends, it has given me a greater desire to likewise minister to those around me who are hurting.