God’s Presence in Community
by Sherry Kendrick, Guest Writer
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.
Another part of being preserved came from the community of believers around us. The day Mike and I learned he had internal melanoma with a terminal diagnosis, we drove back to our home church and our place of ministry trying to process this dire information. Providentially there was a session meeting happening that day. When we walked into the meeting, our senior pastor looked at Mike and said, “What’s wrong?” Mike told him what the doctors had said. Our pastor left the room without a word, went to his office to get the anointing oil, came back and said, “Elders, let’s pray!” They anointed us both and prayed fervently for thirty minutes. Our saints in the land at our church, at our families’ churches, at our friends’ churches, even people we did not know prayed for us for months. It is humbling to be prayed for by so many people. God used the prayers of the community of believers to preserve us and to keep us as we sought His sustaining grace. When we were dealing with fear, pain, and uncertainty, the community would surround us and we would be encouraged to continue trusting in the Lord to preserve us. I truly believe the reason the “drugs” worked so miraculously for Mike is that God’s people prayed supernaturally for us. Our pastoral staff at church instructed our body of believers in how to pray for us. God heard the prayers of His people. The congregation was strengthened spiritually through their participation in our journey. The “miracle” was for the good of His church as well as for the good of our family.
Mike yearned to live long enough to see our youngest son through college. Early in our journey, he read that the most successful rate of the drugs was five years. He asked me if I thought it was wrong for him to ask the Lord for five years so he could see our son into adulthood. That is what he prayed for himself. Mike lived five years and one day past that prayer request. Mike was there the day our son graduated from college. Mike was also there to officiate our son’s wedding. At the end of our story, Mike physically died and his time of suffering ends. Now in Heaven, Mike is perfectly safe and perfectly preserved in God’s presence. My story continues here and God is still showing me every day, through those “excellent ones” in my community, that He is still preserving and keeping me. Whether they are crying with me or remembering a funny Mike story, I am thankful for God’s sustaining grace through them. When they are helping me with a practical house or car issue, I am reminded of my Father’s preserving care of me. A genuine invitation to share a meal and conversation is a welcome reminder that I’m being kept and am not alone. I am indeed safely preserved in my community.
LIFE GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT
It is scary to be vulnerable and to let others into your suffering journey, but the “excellent ones” mentioned in the Psalm are those the Lord provides as a means of care and safety for you. It is necessary and helpful to have the Covenant community’s support and prayer.If you are suffering, I would encourage you to seek out others who are “excellent ones” to come around you, pray with you, and help sustain you with words of encouragement.Those of you who know people, who are suffering, be the one who surrounds, prays and helps to sustain them.It is needful to help the suffering one keep their focus on Jesus.
Sherry Kendrick has a degree in elementary education from East Tennessee State University and over 30 years experience in Christian education, children’s ministry and public school elementary education. She loves children’s curriculums and tends to collect them. Sherry has lived in Naples, Florida for 32 years and currently serves as the Children’s Director of Covenant Church of Naples. Sherry was married to Mike Kendrick, a PCA pastor for 36 years. She has been a widow since February 2018. She is blessed with 3 grown children and one grandchild.
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