Earlier this week an elder died from lung disease. Another pastor was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. Two weeks ago a member was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was successfully removed. Then, tragically, just yesterday a member suffered severe brain trauma from a vehicle accident and is in extremely critical condition.
There is also one example of a member working through extensive recovery from an accident in which she lost her leg all the way to her hip. Another member is recovering from a lung transplant. We remember these and all who suffer. We “have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.
American King James Version×). Our prayers are with these members and their families as well as many others who are dealing with grievous trials and grief.
As we prepare to come before God during this Pentecost weekend, let us collectively pray for His grace, comfort and healing. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God.
American King James Version×).
The Feast of Pentecost teaches us that we are among the firstfruits of God. This is a very special group in His great plan of salvation for all mankind. The apostle Paul wrote these encouraging words of faith to help us understand the purpose of our trials: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Romans 8:18-25 Romans 8:18-25 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
American King James Version×).
We are the firstfruits of God and the Lamb. Those who endure to the end will have their faith tested and tried in every conceivable manner. God promises to make us sons in His image and co-heirs with Christ in eternity. It is an awesome, mind-bending reality that has been promised to us.
Let us take heart and find courage in these words, and let us remember and strengthen each other in prayer.