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From the Pulpit: Finding a gift from tragedy

November 11, 2012
By THE REV. BILL STOUT - Weirton Heights Memorial Baptist Church , Weirton Daily Times

My friend Juan Aragon is a Hispanic strategist for our West Virginia Baptist Convention churches. He shares a story that inspires me so deeply.

He writes as follows:

A well-known Spanish proverb says "En la union esta la fuerza." This translates as: "There is power in togetherness." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reminds us, "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up."

In August, a tragedy befell the Ramirez family. This hard-working family saw how in less than 10 minutes, their trailer home burned to ashes with all they owned. The fruit of years of back-breaking labor was consumed by a voracious fire. Neighbors and friends and brothers and sisters in Christ were broken-hearted by the calamity that had come upon them. But God, who works all things out for the good of those who love Him, transformed this tragedy into an opportunity to see a glimpse of what His kingdom looks like.

Ten congregations and a great number of individuals embraced the Ramirezes as their "familia." The color of their skin, their language and legal status in this country were not a barrier to demonstrate the love and compassion of God in Jesus Christ. In their loving, sharing and caring for the Ramirezes, all these churches and people made God's kingdom a present reality.

The power of the love of God's kingdom overcame a calamity that could have destroyed this family. God used all these American brothers and sisters to restore the lives of a Hispanic family who came to the United States looking for financial opportunities, but found something much more valuable than gold: the love of God in Jesus Christ made visible and tangible by God's people!

What a great story! Once we were all aliens and strangers. But God came to us in Jesus Christ and we were adopted into His family through the shedding of Jesus' own blood for our sins. Have you opened your heart to receive His saving gift?

("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)

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