We are back with another Advent thought about those people who have added a special touch to our “Legacy of Faith.” We’ve mentioned longtime friends and recent ones, but there are other categories of friendship.
In our society, often people are segregated into homogenous age groups. If you attend church, you might be part of the singles group, or the newly-marrieds, or the mothers of preschoolers, or the senior adults. Schools divide children into classes based not on academic skills but according to age. (My mother always felt that basing classes on age was as irrelevant as determining the classes according to the child’s shoe size.)
So today let’s focus on how much we have benefitted by having friends who are a different age than ourself. I draw strength from being around people who have already weathered the storms of life and continue to trust God. They have rich experiences to share.
Eileen is almost 90 years old. Her husband suffered from Alzheimer’s. I watched her tenderly care for him. Then, after Ted died, Eileen’s oldest daughter came down with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Again, Eileen helped her daughter through the fog of that disease until Marie died. And for the past ten years, Eileen has again taken on the full-time job of caregiver for another daughter, also afflicted with Alzheimer’s. Eileen’s patience and gentle spirit have been an incredible example for me of faith enduring through extreme difficulty.
The prophet Jeremiah faced more than his share of difficulties too. He struggled because few listened to his messages from God. His colleagues and fellow priests tried to kill him. The king allowed him to be left in a sewage pit. His own neighbors threatened him. His family rejected him. Like Eileen, he emerged with a strong faith. When Babylonian armies destroyed his culture, he was still able to say, “The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lam. 3:23-24)
Look around you today. Who are those strong oaks of faith that are farther along the road and who can support you in a time of storm? Let them know how much they mean to you.