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The Gift of a Good and Perfect Word

“He sent forth his word and healed them…” –Psalm 107:20

(ROCKWALL, TX — June 27, 2018) I was growing discouraged about the welfare of my friend Luann. For several years I’d been playing the loyal companion “Sam” to her beleaguered “Frodo.” She had the challenging lead role of trudging up her own Mount Doom in a Tolkien-like drama—battling evil circumstances. I could only accompany her on the journey, offering words of support and a listening ear along the way.

Luann’s husband, as good a man as they come, had been pulled into a wide net related to corporate tax fraud. Like a dolphin hauled up with sharks, he suffered for the wrongs of others. The injustice included prison and the seizure of all their joint assets.

Though the couple’s faith in God endured, I worried about Luann after a fresh assault—the confiscation of her personal finances—sent her reeling. By the end of June, the stress had affected her health. I prayed for her daily, using words based on the Apostle Paul’s assurance of the power of God in Christ: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). I asked the One who holds the universe together to keep my fragile friend from falling apart.

A happy respite came when my son’s family arrived in town for a short stay. To help welcome them, my daughter, Jay, and her family joined us for dinner. As they walked in, Jay handed me a rolled-up wall hanging and said she was returning it. Too distracted to understand what she meant, I set it on a buffet counter and returned to the family room, where my four young grandchildren were enjoying their reunion.

Later, my daughter-in-law, Grace, pulled out a gift bag from behind her chair—an early present for my July birthday! I unwrapped the framed water-color painting that featured the very verse I’d been referencing daily. How did they know? Grace reminded me that some months earlier I had posted the words of Colossians 1:17 on Facebook as one of my all-time favorite scriptures.

But Grace had more to say about the gift. When she asked an artist friend about painting and framing it in time for this visit, she discovered the woman had already painted Colossians 1:17. It was just waiting for a buyer.

While admiring the beautiful artwork and its earth-tone colors, I began walking from room to room in search of the right spot to display it. After deciding on the buffet counter next to our dining room, I noticed the rolled-up wall hanging still laying there. Then I understood what Jay had meant by returning it. The scroll had been given to me years ago—a memento from another son’s time in China. But its colors had matched my daughter’s home decor so well that I had given it to her.

Since I hardly remembered the scroll, I decided to take a look at it before storing it away. However, I couldn’t read the Mandarin-language message, so I began to roll it up again. That’s when I noticed a penciled notation on the back side, written in English: Colossians 1:17.

A chill ran through me as, for the first time in seven years, I held the scroll that bore a message I needed now—a second serving of it. That’s when I knew that God would surely hold my friend together. Luann could stand firmly on God’s Word, even from a shaky precipice of Mount Doom.

[Scriptures quoted are from the New International Version.]

By Blue Ribbon News faith columnist Patti Richter. Patti lives in Heath with her husband, Jim. She writes and edits Christian faith articles for several publications. Read more of her essays at BlueRibbonNews.com.

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