Eruptions of Grace

There’s something fascinating and horrifying at the same time about the destructive power of volcanic eruptions!

I was a missionary kid on summer vacation in the mountains of Karuizawa, Japan when I experienced my first seismic explosion. Ten miles away, well-known and active volcano, Mount Asama, rumbled into action one afternoon, emitting a cloud of gas and ash that shook our town. I remember windows vibrating and rain coming down black. Other than the shock and noise, however, in the mercy of God, we experienced no ill effects.

Maybe you’re someone who’s been to Hawaii for a vacation. Having had the privilege of visiting years ago, my heart goes out to the residents of Hawaii’s Big Island. In contrast to my fleeting and non-traumatic childhood experience, these folks have been living in daily anxiety and overwhelm for over four weeks, as Kilauea and its environs continue to disgorge rivers of lava and smoke. According to news reports, thousands of residents have been evacuated and nearly a hundred homes have been consumed by rivers of red molten destruction. Paradise it is no longer!

One Big Island native, a lady who witnessed the unexpected and overwhelming sight of her house burning up in minutes, lamented, “It feels really hard to know you have nowhere to go and nothing to your name.”

Life on this earth is full of the unexpected and overwhelming. Whether it’s a financial, relational, or physical drastic turn of events, many of us know what it’s like to live with emotionally painful disruptions of our worlds.

Back in March, I wrote about Bobbie’s older sister, Beth Sandoval’s, battle with reoccurring leukemia in Mexico, where she and her husband Chalo have been church planting missionaries for over 40 years. Chemo treatments have failed to eradicate her cancer, so Beth needed a transfusion of blood-producing stem cells from a donor’s bone marrow to have any hope of surviving. 

As you may recall Bobbie was a perfect match. Many of you prayed for us as Bobbie and I set out on a ten day “bone marrow donation trip” to Puebla, Mexico back in April, and we thank you so much for your love and support! Doctors were able to harvest her stem cells, taking double what Beth needed just in case. Those stem cells were immediately frozen, waiting in the ensuing weeks for Beth to undergo her final round of chemo and other medical preparations in order to finally be ready to receive them.  

That transfer hasn’t happened yet, but we’re hoping and praying that somewhere around June 18, Beth will begin benefitting from the overflow of life that came from deep within Bobbie’s bones!

Jesus said in Luke 6:45 “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Overflows can be destructive or beneficial, depending on what’s in our hearts and how connected to God we are.

My prayer for my own heart and for ours as God’s people is that this summer we will experience life-giving “eruptions of grace” from deep within our souls, produced by the overflow of living in sync with Jesus!

I love that Summer Quest “life flow” has drawn lots of kids closer to Jesus this week in an amazingly blessed four days. Thanks to all of you who’ve sacrificially been sharing God’s heart of love with our neighbors.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday, when we gather to celebrate God’s abundant grace, and Pastor Jack unpacks the “Tower of Pride” story from Genesis 11.

Pastor Steve