Many of you heard Joni Eareckson Tada's radio program about my story that aired last week. It was so touching to hear from folks all over the country that heard the program and were moved to contact me. If you did not get to listen, here is the link to both the audio (you don't have to download the MP3 -- you can just listen by pushing play) and the actual text of what she said. She did a beautiful job of telling my story. I was extremely impressed. Most people are not totally accurate about certain details or are not able to convey the gravity of what happened. Joni's retelling was excellent both in her words spoken and clearly through the "homework" she had done. Thanks again, Joni!
Seeing Joni share the story of her life and now having heard her reflect on my story has provided me so much comfort. This incredible woman has long lived out a principle that I love and very much long to emmulate: comfort others with the comfort you have recieved. A wise person is one who can pull back the seemingly all-encompassing curtain of their immediate circumstances and see a bigger picture, a future and a hope. An even wiser person is one who can share that hope with others who are desperately seeking it too. I've been given the opportunity to do that for a long time now and the beautiful thing is that it creates a perpetual cycle. When I offer my story to comfort others, not only are they hopefully comforted in their own situations, but I am amazingly comforted again by the act of comforting another. I have found tremendous purpose, hope, and perseverance linked to this simple but profound action.
Recently, we have come across the story of a young couple, Will and Angie Gray, similar to us in so many ways, following the Lord and their dreams in the City of Angels. The Grays are friends with some of our closest friends, and sadly, they have recently been dealt a devastating medical diagnosis that will require intense surgical intervention in the next week. Despite their youth, they have graciously shared their struggles and maintained a not-of-this-world, hopeful perspective that has already encouraged and comforted so many people, the Wolfs included. This lovely couple has been so heavy on our hearts since we heard this news. We invite you to pray for them with us as they go through and grow through this exceptionally difficult time. Let me shout a big #GOTEAMGRAY!!!! (click the link to see the fantastic website created to share Will's story and to inspire the body of Christ to come along side this couple in their great time of need).
Interestingly enough, God, as only God can do, has worked it out for me and Jay to be at UCLA (for my annual MRI to monitor my aneurysm) on November 27th, the same day as Will's surgery (also at UCLA). I have chills. I am so grateful for the opportunity to now sit in a waiting room with another person, as so many have sat in waiting rooms on my behalf. Our stories are so different in many ways, yet intense suffering gives you entry to a very unique and very unwanted club, of sorts. You can embrace or push so hard to reject, but either way, you're in it.
I would be lying if I said I relished the moment to minister to others in a hospital setting. I recognize the deep importance of passing on comfort to others, but there is so much pain inherent in such a waiting room, and I don't enter that lightly. What I do know is that there is a no greater need in such a circumstance than hope, and often the greatest conduit of hope in that place is from one who is been there before themselves. Perhaps that comfort and hope will come in sharing words, maybe in just sharing a presence, but certainly in sharing prayers. I invite you all to join me and Jay in praying for this dear couple, particularly on November 27 but beyond that, as well. And if you have been given comfort, which we all have in various ways, don't wait to share that with someone in your life who needs it today.
2 Corinthians 1: 3 - 7 : Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.