The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox.
“…that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You (John 17:21).”
It was Sunday morning, Aug. 1, 1999. Cindy and I were at the hospital, in labor and delivery room number 5.
Cindy was in the final moments of delivering our seventh child, and at precisely the same time, Jesse (our fifth) was having a convulsion on the front row at Antioch Community Church.
I know that sounds like a line right out of Erma Bombeck, but it really happened. His fever spiked at 11:19 a.m. and he convulsed.
A visiting missionary was about to preach but when he saw what was happening, he immediately began praying. Others in the church flooded the front and began to pray for Jesse.
Our friend John was trying to hold Jesse’s tongue down, but neither the tongue nor the teeth were cooperating and John’s fingers suffered the results.
Someone called 911 and within five minutes, firemen were running through the front door of the building.
A minute later, EMTs were racing in.
Their first question was, “Who’s the Mom?”
Martha replied, “She’s at the hospital, having a baby.” Martha had just called and spoken with me about Jesse. The EMT said, “Well, I need to call and talk with her.” Martha replied, “She’s pushing. I don’t think that’s a good idea.” “Well, then, who’s the next of kin?” the EMT persisted. John piped up, “I am. We’re all family, here!” John, my brother in Christ, gave them permission to treat Jesse, and the EMTs went to work. All was settled, finally, and the worship service resumed. By the time the service was over, all had dried their tears for Jesse, and he was sitting up and taking nourishment. Then Micah (our oldest) announced to the church that Susanna Joy had been born, and everyone began to cry again. That day’s events confirmed to me what I have known for a long time. We truly are family in the body of Christ. There is a bond that is deeper than the blood of natural kinship. It is the bond of the spirit, the bond of faith that makes us one, not just for this life but for the life that is to come.
Bill and Gloria Gaither’s chorus sang, “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God, I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood. Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, for I’m part of the family, the family of God.”
I would not trade anything for the family of God. That family extends beyond our local church, of course, and reaches around the world.
I have brothers in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, for example. I have slogged through the mud during rainy season in Kenya to preach at their churches. The first church I preached in there had a corrugated tin roof that leaked like a sieve. The walls were cardboard, the floor was dirt. But the people there, my family members, were filled with a joy in the Lord that is rare in America. They sang loudly and danced with exuberance, worshiping Jesus with all their might.
I have been back three times and taken two sons and one daughter to meet some of their brothers and sisters in Africa. And why not? We are family.
Prayer: “Lord, thank you for placing me and my family in our local church, and for the family of God around the world to which we are connected.”
Action: Pick a family or single person in your church and pray for them with your children. Invite them over for a meal to let them know you love them.