Monday, November 9, 2009

Fellowship of Suffering

Last night I was falling asleep at about 9:30 - of course did not actually go to bed until 11:30... It was a very full weekend. I think we are still taking it all in both the Gala and sharing in church on Sunday morning. Also having Robbie home was an incredible boost for our family - I know he is now 20 and moving into his own adulthood but having him gone leaves a dent in our side. I am sure that a ton of it has to do with all that has gone on - the trauma and suffering that we have all gone through. If he were here we would probably get to see him more but he would continue to move forward with his life. I think we see him more now for when he is home he is "home." Thanksgiving is only in a couple of weeks away(sorry if that shocks some of you!).

The Gala continues to dwell on our hearts. It opens up more stories for Jacob to hear from us - grabbing and kicking a nurse or Dennis throwing himself on top of Jacob as he thrashed about. There were so many nurses that touched our lives. One of them we created a special bond with was Minnie. Her husband is a firefighter at the Santa Cruz Central station. She has a young son and another on the way. We found out on Saturday night that her husband also trained with Greg Hansen who saved Jacob. Minnie also has been into Freeline where Jacob works. So there was this bond that came and she tried to manuver her shift to care for Jacob. Our lives intertwine in so many ways.

Minnie was the one who presented Jacob with the plaque - honored him for the encouragement and hope that he continues to bring. It was really an honor to this community that continues to come around us. The Fellowship of Suffering that we share. Jacob went up on stage and shared just a few words - not sure what to say - he basically said that he wished he could have gotten to know the nurses and doctors while he was at Valley Medical.

Sunday morning I shared in the first service for about 5 minutes or so in the midst of the sermon that was on Hope when life seems Hopeless. Here is a link to it - . During the second service I went in and shared in the Genesis service and my family arrived (all but Jensen). We then went over to the main service. As I went to go up on stage Robbie was going to go up with me - well Jacob came up too - then came Debbie and even my sister Kirky. Jacob answered a few questions, Robbie answered a few, I answered a few and Debbie shared a bit. It was good - I have no idea what we said - but right now I am just so thankful that Jacob chose on his own to come up with me. I am so thankful that he is starting to find a voice for his journey. He wants to see what God is going to do with this. In the midst of tears of frustration when we are at home - his tender heart is molded and shaped and is being prepared for his own testimony - his own story.

Over and over again through the last few days I have been reading Romans 7 and 8. I keep coming back to these verses...

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit
that we are God's children.
Now if we are children,
then we are heirs - heirs of God
and coheirs with Christ,
if indeed we share in his sufferings
in order that we may also share in his glory.
I consider that our present sufferings
are not worth comparing with the glory
that will be revealed in us."
Romans 8:16-17

God is testifying with our spirit about being his child! God is actively seeking to remind us - convince us - encourage us that he loves us. It is not that we only need to remind ourselves; God is at work - his Spirit is at work. I am his beloved child - he loves me with the same love that he bestowed on his own son - perfect love. Love that is patient, kind and gentle (1 Cor 13). John reminds us that God is love (1 John 4) and Paul reminds us what love really looks like - it looks a lot - change that completely like God (1 Cor 13). And with this love he chose me and made me his heir. We recieve all that God is and all that God has to offer - not just in heaven. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is at Hand. He also said that through the Spirit of God he would be present with us now. We are heirs of God's glory now. So this suffering that we are finding now in the midst of life is not even close to what God has to offer.

This does not take away from our present troubles and sufferings - it does not diminsh them and there are no pat answers for this suffering and the question of "why". Jake is finding that as we are finding that "why" is hard to answer. So instead of focusing on the "why" we try to focus on the "who". The "who" is testifying with our spirit because we sure do not feel like his child sometimes. We may even feel like the forgotten child - the orphan left behind - the outcast - the worthless scrap that is not worthy to come to the dinner table. So God pursues us - reminding us - calling to us - finding ways to tell us in the midst of suffering and in the midst of truimph that he loves us and longs to be with us.

Even from a few brief conversations that I had on Sunday and a few messages I have received I know that this Fellowship of Suffering is quite real, quite raw and quite rampant. Suffering touches so many and I am overwhelmed with what to do. God is moving us, directing us and giving us opportunities to encourage one another, touch one another as we are given chances to crawl into the lap our Father - God and be his child.

Please continue to pray for Jake to be encouraged and that his back would continue to heal. What a treasure it is to walk with him through this time - yet we all get so weary. Pray for stamina.

Peace and Grace

Tom (JK Daddy)


Anonymous said...

Dear Tom and family,
What an absolute gift it was to see all of you at church on Sunday. I was thrilled to see Jacob come up on stage with all of you. Please know that although I don't always respond in writing, I am praying for all of you. You are such an encouragement of faith to me. More than you will ever know. I don't even know you all ( got to meet you Tom at Bay Fed)but I have such a love for all of you. Thanks for sharing and keeping us informed as to what is happening and what to pray for. PS Jake looks wonderful and I am so proud of him...Can't wait to meet him someday. Love, Barb

Kayce said...

What a blessing to see your beautiful family at church on Sunday! We have followed Jacob's journey from the beginning and continue to keep him and all of you in our constant prayers.

Our son, also named Jacob is always telling me how amazed at the incredible strength your Jacob has in his faith. That has given him his own strength in pushing through difficult moments during this first year of high school. Our Jacob is a freshman at AHS this year and has wood shop with some of your Jacob's friends and he always comes home sharing stories of how Jacob is doing.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us, it means so much!! God Bless!