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.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide each of us to consider how we may encourage one another and that we, the body of Christ, may become his hands and feet, spurring one another on toward love.
- Strange Way to Save the World – Michael Crawford - December 12, 2017
- A Psalm of Comfort in the Midst of the Storm - August 27, 2017
- What’s On Your Spiritual Bucket List? - July 13, 2017
Such great verses and in context!
These Scriptures came immediately to my mind as I sat in the church pew that morning…I knew I had to share them!
What a beautiful church going through such a hard time. I can relate as our church went through a rough time like this last year with 2 separate incidents within a month of each other.
So sorry your church has experienced tough times. It’s never easy to endure tragedies, but having a church family to share the burden helps so much.
This is beautiful, Lana!
Thank you, Elayne. I’ve always known Lakehoma to be a compassionate body of believers, but seeing it from the “outside” really touched my heart.
Just being there for someone speaks volumes. We tend to make it harder than it is.
So true! Sometimes simply sitting with someone is better than any words of comfort.
It’s nice hearing about the good people are doing. Especially when it’s my fellow Christians. It’s about time we start helping each other out and lifting each other up. Thanks for sharing this. We all have stuff we go through and I think we need to remember God gave us a family that is there to help us, we just have to ask..
I’m so thankful for a church family that is there to support each other, in the hardest of times and in the best of times too.
Thanks for sharing this. I have been dissapointed by the actions of the church–and people in the church–on a number of occasions. Your post is a good reminder for me to keep things in perspective, as there are so many times when the church body gets things right. I do that that we (very much including myself) need to talk about these times more often. Thank you for writing about this. Although the story is sad, the response of the body of Christ is incredibly refreshing.
Thanks for your comment, Jed. It’s so easy for us to focus on what the church does wrong, isn’t it? I know I often find myself having to consciously change my mindset to look for the positive. I pray that we will all look for the good in everyone!
What a beautiful picture of the church living the way we are called to live. Thank you for sharing this window into the world the way God wants us to be living.
Thanks for your kind comment, Elizabeth!
Thanks so much for this. I will pass this post on to one of my friends that lost her brother on yesterday.
I’m so sorry for your friend’s loss. I pray that she has a church family who will walk with her through this dark hour. May she feel God’s comfort and peace through his body here on earth.
How heartbreaking. I pray that the family found comfort in God and in the love that this church has displayed.
Thank you for your kind words, Tami. I know the family would appreciate your prayers.
Love this!! Seeing other women all across the nation (and world) truly draws me nearer to Christ, seeing more people love Jesus is so heart warming. Thank you for your obedience to share.
Thank you, Amaris! It is amazing how Christ can bring so many different people together to serve Him in amazing ways. Blessings to you!