Let us Never Tire of Doing Good
“So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.” (Galatians 6:9¬10 MSG)
I’ve been praying for my daughter, Kalea, since the day she was born. Of all the things I pray for her, one of my most consistent prayers is that God will surround her with friends who will lead her closer to Him. God answered my prayer when He sent Kalea a friend named Alana. When Kalea is anxious or worried about something, she confides in Alana, who tells her, “Let’s pray about it together.” She writes sweet letters telling Kalea how thankful she is to have a friend like her. When she is sick, we can count on Alana to leave her a little gift on our doorstep. She reminds Kalea about how much God loves her.
I’ve often asked myself how a little girl can be so full of faith, and all I have to do is look at her mother to know the answer. Shelly radiates God’s light. She does simple things that make a huge difference in people’s lives—things like dropping off a gift card for coffee when she knows you’re running on low fuel, or giving you a book of prayers when you’re struggling to find words for your own conversation with God. She coordinates meals when anyone in our little town needs an extra hand and collects clothing for children whose parents are down on their luck. She invites neighbors who don’t know God to Bible study and invites their children to VBS. What I admire most about her is the way she sees the best in everyone, which really means that she sees God in everyone.
Shelly told me recently that she is so blessed to be healthy and strong that she wants to use each day to be the hands and feet of Jesus for someone else. And she does. Not only that, but her example makes me want to be the hands and feet of Jesus. And I know without a doubt that there are countless others who feel exactly the same way about Shelly. She never tires of doing good. I’m sure there are many reasons for her perseverance, but I know the greatest one is her own mother, who is the closest I’ve ever known to a true Proverbs 31 woman.
“She opens her arms to those who are poor.
She reaches out her hands to those who are needy…
She puts on strength and honor as if they were her clothes.
She can laugh at the days that are coming.
She speaks wisely.
She teaches faithfully.
She watches over family matters.
She is busy all the time.
Her children stand up and call her blessed.
Her husband also rises up, and he praises her.
He says, “Many women do excellent things.
But you are better than all the others.”
Charm can fool you.
But a woman who has respect for the LORD should be praised.
Give her honor for all that her hands have done.
Let everything she has done bring praise to her at the city gate.” (Proverbs 31:20, 25¬31 NIrV).
Shelly’s mother, Barb, is someone that I pray for every day. A devoted teacher and coach for 42 years, Barb was a beacon of God’s light in her small¬ town Indiana community. Generations of Fairmount kids looked forward to her consistent presence and support at high school events. She raised her two children selflessly and lovingly. This year, she and her husband celebrated 51 years of the kind of storybook romance that serves as a true example of what God intended marriage to be. Barb is a woman who has fought for her faith, served others wholeheartedly, and centered her life solidly on Jesus Christ.
In April of 2013, Barb’s world was shattered when she was diagnosed with ALS and told by her neurologist that there was no hope of recovery. Since that day, she has slowly and progressively lost control of her nerve cells, leaving her unable to walk, speak clearly, and eat. She can no longer do the things that once brought her great joy—gardening, taking care of others, and hugging her grandchildren. Once fiercely independent, she is now completely dependent on her husband for all things, even to take a sip of water. Ordinary routines present huge obstacles for Barb and her husband, David, whose unwavering commitment to his wife is nothing short of inspiring.
When I first heard this story, I was angry with God, and in all honesty, as I pray for her, the anger still rattles around in my mind testing my faith. How can someone who has devoted her entire life to serving the Lord fall victim to this destructive demon of a disease? After wrestling with this anger themselves, her family says they had no choice but to draw close to God and let Him carry them through. Giving up was never an option. Despite the immense challenges of traveling, they do whatever it takes to be in the audience for their grandchildren’s dance recitals and cheering in the stands at their sporting events. Although she can no longer prepare meals for those in need as she once loved to do, Barb continues to instruct her husband how to do so. She prays for her husband, her children, and her grandchildren daily.
Barb’s story says so much to me about perseverance. It’s not just about her own perseverance to take on each day as it comes, which is inspiring in itself. It’s not even just about her husband’s perseverance to provide her with the most loving care that he possibly can. It’s about the perseverance that she has passed down to so many others. What she’s created through her faith is a chain of women who go out into the world and spread God’s love to everyone they meet. When we persevere, we become a beautiful part of God’s plan, which is so much bigger than one person. While my heart breaks for Barb and I pray relentlessly for a cure, I know that she perseveres for Christ, and in turn, her daughter will persevere, as will her granddaughter. And the number of lives they will each touch can never truly be measured. So with every chance we have, let us work for the benefit of others. Let us never tire of doing good.