This week was filled with unexpected challenges. Although these challenges were unexpected by us, they were, of course, known to our sovereign and loving God.

Our son, Larry, preached a powerful message at Coastline Baptist Church Sunday morning, where my brother Steve pastors. After the service, Larry became extremely ill and for the next thirty-six hours was in intense pain. After meeting with the doctors, they felt that Larry would need to have emergency surgery for what appeared to be an obstruction in his bowels, perhaps related to his previous surgeries.

We made the very difficult drive back down to Los Angeles to one of the major hospitals of our HMO. After spending twelve or thirteen hours in the emergency room, we met with surgeons, and through various therapies, they were able to avert the need for emergency surgery.

We are tremendously grateful that this setback is not related to cancer, yet it has been a extremely difficult and painful week for Larry. It is also difficult for us, as a family, to see Larry have times of suffering like this.

Larry’s wife, Ashley, has grown as a godly young wife in ways that only a trial like this could bring. We are so thankful for God’s grace in each of their lives.

Yesterday I read to Larry 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17: “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.”

During these times we must look to the Lord for our help. I noticed from these verses that the origin of our help is the Lord Himself—our Father who has loved us from the beginning.

I noticed secondly, that the outpouring of our help comes in the forms of love, eternal consolation, and good hope through the grace of God.

Finally, I see the outcome of our help is comforted hearts and established lives.

It is my prayer today, that my son will know the comforting presence of our Lord and that he will be established spiritually for the great usefulness I believe God has in store for him.

Sometimes it is hard to put into context the feelings and details of a week like this one. Often, the details of our lives do not even allow us to reflect as we should.

For now, we are beginning a new day, thankful that Larry is home and praying that he will be strengthened. We are asking that you pray that his body will be strengthened and completely healed.

Terrie and I spent time this morning in prayer, fellowship and Bible reading, and we look forward to the blessings God has in store just around the corner. We thank our church family and friends across the nation for your prayers and communications over the last week.

We are so thankful for the spiritual and Christ-like response we have sensed from so many fellow pastors, church members, and faithful friends. May God bless you as you continue to serve Him.

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