I haven't known what to write about for awhile. We do not have any new approved projects right now at HFWA foundation but some are in the process, so we will be sharing news of these soon. I have also had a hard time trying to think of what reflections I might want to share with you. However someone had spoke at an event that left a strong impression on my mind for some time. I was not sure whether I should share it or not. So I have been praying about it. Today because of the beautiful 70 degree weather we are having here in Baltimore I got in the mood to do some early spring cleaning. As I was going through some old papers I came across an old story I had written about Nigeria but never posted and it made me think of Tim Blattner's eulogy for his brother John. This was what had left the impression that has been on my mind. So I took this as an answer from God to share this story.
The Blattner family (Diane Blattner is the President of the HFWA foundation) suffered the tragic loss of their son John in early January. He had been suffering from a rare form of lymphoma for the past 3 1/2 years. He was only 27 years old with a lovely wife and young son. He fought his battle bravely and gracefully. In the end he was able to be peaceful with his family lovingly surrounding him. With all he had suffered he wanted his family to know that God was merciful. The Blattners have such a strong faith. Yes they were in pain that most of us can not even imagine. But I want to share with you about peace in our Lord Jesus Christ. And about how we can help people have peace in a time of adversity. In their great loss the Blattners still had a peace. The pastor of our church said that how we handle great adversity is the strongest testimony we can ever give as Christians. Also being there for others who are going through great adversity is another strong testimony we can give as Christians.
I attended John's funeral service. The whole family gave such beautiful, touching eulogies for John. I was especially touched by Tim Blattner's eulogy, who is John's younger brother. Tim shared a story of his and John's journey to Nigeria and their visit at Faith Alive. Tim, like many of us who went to serve there felt so overwhelmed by the great need of the people. He did not know what he could possibly do to help. He was scared. He so wanted to help the people at Faith Alive but he was scared at failure. But there was his big brother John as usual. Tim shared how John had always been there for him as they grew up together. He always helped Tim whenever he was afraid. So John came up to Tim when he was feeling really bad one day and put his hand on his shoulder and said it will be alright Tim. Don't be afraid. You can do this. We will do this together. We will do whatever we can. God is with us.
I heard such love in this story of the relationship of an older and younger brother. As Tim was telling the story of how his brother John was always there for him telling him not to be afraid; I saw John as being the light of Jesus Christ for Tim. I also saw John being the light in helping Tim getting over the feeling of failing. Who hasn't felt this way at times? I was just so touched by Tim's honesty and courage to share that he was afraid and worried. This is not always easy for us to share. Then to hear how John just always stepped up for his younger brother. Siblings do not always do this for one another. It is something we all should do for everyone not just siblings.
I thought what would Jesus do? Did he not always step up to help those who were afraid, sick or troubled? Jesus is there for us now. He is our strength when we are weak. He is our peace when we are troubled. Jesus wants to work through us to help others. John let Jesus Christ work through him to show strength and peace during a time of adversity for Tim. How beautiful!
When I went to Faith Alive to serve I was also overwhelmed at first. I also thought what could I possibly do to help. It was Dr. Chris who helped me understand that anything I could do would be of help. Dr. Chris showed the love of Jesus Christ to me by sharing strength and peace during my time of adversity at Faith Alive. His words to me were, "Have confidence in Jesus Christ, Teresa!."
We have to trust in God. Let Him enfold us! God will help us to help others when we are in types of service that seems overwhelming like mission service. We all have gifts that God has given us that are meant to be used to minister to others. Then there are those times when it is not overwhelming and it is actually quite simple. When a sibling, friend, or co-worker is afraid, or troubled, can we not take the time to put our arm on their shoulder or put our arms around them and tell them that we care and that God is with them?
Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me...I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.
John 14:1,27 NLT