For a moment or two this past Friday it seemed as if all the predictions about global warming had come true right here in Philadelphia. We had reached over 100 degrees for the first time this year and based on what the forecasters were predicting the whole east coast seemed poised to melt under the dreaded “heat dome”. While I will admit that it was pretty hot, I also seem to remember that we had experienced several days of 100+ degrees last year at an earlier date. Oh how quick we are to forget.
On the same day, I had a visit by a team from our sending church in Harrisburg. The five of them represented the current missions committee and were exploring ways that they could encourage the congregation to partner with CLC and possibly send volunteers in the near future. Their vision is to ignite a season of engagement in the church with many people volunteering in various missional locations in Harrisburg and beyond. In the fall, these folks will report back to the congregation on all that God has had them doing and what they have learned as a result. What a great idea for sparking hands on involvement in the gospel centered work of so many vital organizations that rely on volunteers to do practical acts of service.
As I met with the folks, I could hardly believe that it has been 15 years since Deb and I were commissioned and sent out as missionaries from this congregation. This wonderful church, New Covenant Fellowship, in Mechanicsburg PA had been formative in our spiritual development as a couple and eventually as a family. One of the people that came was Ruth Silcox who has been a member of the missions committee for so long now that she was actually there the night they asked me to be the chairman of the committee in my early twenties. She was also there when Kenny, our now 16 year old son, got really sick 8 weeks into his young life and had to be hospitalized for two weeks. Many times during that traumatic period, she came to visit us in the hospital and simply held Kenny in her arms to keep him from crying for a few short moments. At the time we did not know for sure if Kenny would make it, but we knew that these dear people would be there for us either way.
Somehow over the years, these memories faded and new things took their place. We are so prone to forget the goodness of our God. At every step of our faith walk in the ensuing 15 years, God has continued to put people in our path like the people of New Covenant Fellowship that demonstrate his love and faithfulness to us. In addition, we have had the joy of of visiting NCF about once a year to rekindle old friendships and share what God is doing in our lives. One thing is certain, the church was an incubator for our faith at a time when we had many questions about God’s direction for us. They gave us opportunities to serve – though taking on the nursery as a 23 year old was more than I thought I could handle at the time – and they prepared us to see that God had even bigger things in store for us.
As I reflect on where God is taking me and my family, I am deeply convicted that my memory of God’s faithfulness and love is woefully inadequate. Like the people of Israel, I am so prone to forget what God has already done while I am in the midst of my current crisis or challenge. If God can restore my young dehydrated baby boy to full health so that he is now a high school athlete, he can certainly take care of whatever I am facing today. Oh that I would be quick to remember the goodness of my God this week in both the big and the small things of my life.