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Today I had lunch with several other cancer survivors from my church. As we were chatting, a comment was made which we could all relate to very much. Someone happened to say that when they were originally diagnosed, a number of years ago, they were attending a large church which had several thousand people in attendance. They had been attending there a number of years and knew a lot of people. During their time of diagnosis and treatment which lasted for months, they were visited twice by someone from the church. One visit was from one of the pastors and another visit was from another member. That was it. Oh, and a couple of people brought meals for a week after she got home from surgery.
All of us nodded our heads. While I did have a couple of friends who really were there for me during the long haul and a couple of people I have met since then who support me, I understand how lonely this sort of journey really can be. Neglect and isolation of people dealing with long term illness is the rule rather than the exception... even within the Body of Christ.
Sadly enough, this does not apply only to serious illness. We have short attention spans when people are in crisis. We are willing to be there for maybe a couple of days or a week. Perhaps even a month but what happens when the crisis lasts longer?
I am so glad that God is with us for the long haul. No matter how long the storm lasts, He doesnt tire of us or move on to other things. He sticks by us and patiently helps us, even when we are floundering.
We are not God of course, but we are His children. Perhaps it is time for us to take a good hard look at how we respond to others around us who need a helping hand, who need some support. Are we guilty of passing them by? Are we simply there for a moment to soothe our conscience and then off again lest the Holy Spirit might prompt us to do something more?
We say we love one another but are we in it for the long haul?