Our pastor began the service yesterday morning with these words –
“This church believes that we’re best when we’re all together.”
And our congregation celebrated with a pre-Family Day service. (Family day is not a national statutory holiday but it is observed on Monday, February 20th in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Colombia. In Ontario, Family Day is celebrated today.)
Later in the service, our pastor was reading through Mark 7:31-37 and was telling us that Jesus looked up to the heavens and sighed. He was longing for things to be made right. Sometimes in our prayers, the Holy Spirit intercede for us through wordless groans and sighs. In this passage, Jesus sighs in the Spirit with a longing too deep for words . . . and then heals.
Later in the day, my back went into spasm – for 20 hours – and I was taken out.
I experienced the truth that “we are best together” as Chris took up the reins and served me with such love. He made meals, cleaned, massaged my back many times, went up and down the stairs with water, medication and hot water bottles, concocted essential oil mixtures, woke up in the middle of the night to rub my back and made sure I took the muscle relaxants at the right time.
I also experienced the truth that there are moments when words become inadequate in prayer. At 3:38 am, I began to groan and sigh. Experiencing painful back spasms through the early morning hours is very overwhelming and yet, how comforting it was to acknowledge God’s presence, to speak truth to myself and to persevere through the pain, hoping that relief will come soon.
Now that the spasms are over and I am recovering, I think back on the Sunday sermon and am so thankful that in the midst of real physical pain, I was reminded of strong biblical truths – that we are always stronger together in the body of Christ and secondly, that we are comforted by the Holy Spirit who understands our groans and sighs in prayer, when words are impotent.
Thanks be to God, for His presence and His Word.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5