Many years ago I adopted a dog who had been shuffled among members of a family, only to end up tied to a post with ropes binding her snout. When Animal Services arrived, they discovered an almost lifeless body and immediately surrendered her to a breed-rescue group; the dog’s desperate situation proposed death as the only apparent solution. But I found her there, and our lives became forever joined through God's love. In gratitude, she became a visitor to hospitals and seniors' homes, sharing her love. When God called her, I let her go peacefully, into His loving hands forever.
In this passage, we see Paul’s instruction to discover within ourselves the power of God's love, and the directive to help others in any way we can imagine. How often do we say the prayer "Glory to God whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine", looking into the eyes of those next to us? How many people can do this with an honest expectation of aid to those in need?
Paul, when he adopted Onesimus, a slave and convicted thief, converted and nurtured him knowing that he would return to Philemon eventually, having earned his freedom through study and service. Our world should recognize that the thousands of migrants fleeing religious persecution and violence in their homelands need to be adopted and nurtured, not fenced out. God's power is in our hands to fashion productive and innovative solutions to the crises we are facing. In this time of Advent, can we not share God's glory with others who are clearly in need of our help? Can we not do this in any way that we can ask or imagine?
Sue Ann Elite