'God is faithful. He will do it!'

Built on a Rock

Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians ends with a section often known as “Final Instructions.” This is because the words close out the letter. (I Thessalonians 5:16-24).

There are some very familiar, short exhortations contained in this portion of the letter: “Rejoice always … pray continually … give thanks in all circumstances … Do not quench the Spirit.” In the midst of these “instructions” you read that Paul also says, “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” God is faithful! This is a very good piece of news to remember.

Some of you in the community know that our daughter, Carissa Cunningham, had open heart surgery on Aug. 3. This was not something we expected to happen this summer. Carissa is 20 years old and our oldest of six children. For those that knew about this, consider this an update about her. Others may find this to be fresh news.

We had known for several months that Carissa would need to have some kind of surgical procedure in the summer to repair a fairly large hole between two chambers of her heart. This is something she was born with, but it didn’t start to cause problems for her until about a year ago. Young adulthood is when these things usually come to light.

We thought her surgery would be a procedure that would result in Carissa staying one overnight in the hospital and then recovering by taking it easy for a few weeks.

We were very much surprised when Carissa’s condition required open heart surgery and five days in the hospital. This was something that very definitely “threw us for a loop” and many people in our church congregation felt the same way.

The recovery process is a slow one, but Carissa is steadily getting better. The surgery was a success and fixed the hole. In fact, Carissa is now back in Sioux Falls at college in Augustana just in time for the start of the fresh semester, though she is still very much in the process of healing and recovering.

But this was a life event that was definitely unexpected and caused some worry and consternation. Through the process of the events unfolding, we definitely were able to see the faithfulness of God. People in my congregation made sure the pulpit was filled so I could suddenly be gone for a Sunday. Many people sent cards, shared that they were praying, and asked about how she was doing.

We are also thankful that the medical team was able to quickly come up with an alternative (though a very serious and invasive one) when the original plan was untenable.

When and where have you experienced the ongoing care and faithfulness of God? I invite you to reflect on that question.

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