My father-in-law, Ed, is 93 years old. The last decade of his life has been very hard. His wife and one of his three children have passed away. He suffered a stroke and can no longer walk. He has very limited eyesight and hearing. The list of painful medical complications is long. He has been admitted to hospice care on three occasions and was not expected to live much longer in every case. It looked like Dad was headed home. Amazingly, each time he has recovered; sometimes even miraculously. Special thanks to many of you who have been praying for Dad.
Because Dad has many medical needs and physical restrictions requiring full-time care, he lives in a skilled nursing facility. My wife, Debra, family members, friends, and I see Dad every day. We spend a lot of time outside enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. We also listen together to the audio Bible and have a great time of prayer together. Dad always opens our prayer times by saying something like the prayer he prayed earlier this week:
“Thank You, Father, for Placing Me Here!”
Thank you, Father, that you are our Heavenly Father, that you love us, and that you have promised that you will never leave us or forsake us. We hang onto that promise, Lord, because it makes us feel good. We pray, Father, that your will would be accomplished in our lives; that we might walk in a way that pleases you; that we would not pass up any opportunity to speak a word for you and testify about what you have done for us. Thank you, Father, for placing me here. Please help me to be faithful to your calling for me here…
By the time he has prayed these words Dad is only getting started, as he prays specifically for family and friends (the church in China and ChinaSource too!) and thanks the Lord for the staff that takes care of him.
“What Would We Do Without Jesus?”
For pretty much all but the last ten years of Dad’s life, he has known great blessing through family, fruitful ministry, and work. He and Mom were leaders in their church and instrumental in helping to plant the church in their town. He and Mom took care of everyone else, or so it seemed to us.
However, over the last ten years Dad has been on the receiving end of a lot of pain, discomfort, and disappointment. And yet, Dad is truly thankful. He has walked with God all his life and he isn’t going to let his troubles and frequent intense pain keep him from finishing in the grace and peace of Christ. Dad is disappointed that he hasn’t been called home yet, but he refuses bitterness or resentment, in favor of taking the hand of his Heavenly Father and walking the path charted out for him.
Dad’s thankful heart is contagious; a healthy and powerful reminder to us all. We go to church with Dad as much as we can, and sometimes the trip is a struggle for him. But invariably, in the middle of our worship. Dad turns to us and says, “I’m so glad to be here!” At the end of just about every service, he turns to me and asks rhetorically, “What would we do without Jesus?”
“Thanks a Million for Everything!”
I always look forward to hanging out with Dad on the days I’m blessed to be with him. He is a powerful influence and example to me. He reminds me every day to be thankful and to say thank you regularly, not only to God but to so many others along the way. At the end of our visits Dad will always say, “Thanks a million for everything!”
During our recent Thanksgiving service, our pastor asked the question, “How many times have you been thankful but never said thank you?” I immediately thought, “Way too many times.” Being thankful and saying thank you are important any time of year. Certainly in this Thanksgiving season I want to say thank you to the ChinaSource community for your friendship, love, and sacrificial involvement together with us. You are helping ChinaSource fulfill God’s vision to see the church in China and the global church learning and growing together, engaging in ministry that powerfully advances the kingdom of God.
Happy Thanksgiving from the ChinaSource Team!
Rev. Kerry Schottelkorb is the president of ChinaSource. For twenty years Kerry was involved in local church planting and youth ministry, both in the US and Hong Kong. He was the founding pastor of the Cle Elum Alliance Church in Cle Elum, Washington and one of two founding pastors of Evangelical …View Full Bio
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