These events all fit in with the conversation we had in my small group at church last night. Just about everyone there has issues of some kind with parents in crisis, personal medical concerns, and a variety of potentially overwhelming situations.
But - and this is hugely important - we were, gathered together in support and encouragement and prayer, still a group of positive, thankful, forgiven children of God who are living our sometimes difficult lives in the truth and great peace of redemptive community.
That kind of assurance is of critical importance when I'm sitting in a hospital room watching my dad deal with this seemingly endless parade of distressing medical news. Two weeks ago he was feeling fine, scheduled to go in for a heart cath, not expecting much to happen.
Today he's still in the hospital, news is not all that good, and we're all deeply concerned. The simple fact of our relationship to God, however, the Creator who loves each one of us completely, has not changed at all. Dad is God's child, as am I; it's the kind of knowledge that puts everything else into perspective.
There's a chapter in my new book that sums things up fairly well. "Life is hard: follow Jesus". Following Jesus is the only way to effectively engage the challenges we face from day to day, and that often overwhelm us.
Here's the thing. Right now I should be upset and worried and stressed. Well, I am! But all of that is still secondary to the foundational blessing of God's faithfulness and love.
For now, that has to be enough - DEREK