Many bemoan the negatives associated with the Internet and, to be sure, there are many. But, when used for God’s glory, it becomes a tool of fellowship and an opportunity to bear one another’s burdens. Having built up a network of homeschooling associates over the years, I routinely share info and prayer requests and stay connected with brothers and sisters in Christ, some of whom I have never met in person.
A number of years ago when my older daughter was heading to Scotland for postgraduate work, I sent an inquiry to over fifty contacts to see if anyone knew folks in Glasgow that she might be able to board with. I received thirty responses, one of which resulted in a wonderful living situation for her and the establishment of a life-long friendship.
More recently, sharing the news about my granddaughter’s diagnosis of cystic fibrosis (CF), I received emails of encouragement and referrals to people I could talk with and gather information and advice.
One such referral resulted in an hour-long conversation with a local minister (also a homeschooling dad) who, at the age of fifty, has defied the life expectancy for someone with this genetic condition. What could have been an awkward meeting produced a budding friendship, because we are “family in Christ.” His insights, experiences, and sense of humor were all helpful, not to mention his honesty regarding the realities of what may lie ahead for my son’s family.
Another referral, a homeschooling mother of six, with a son with CF, spent an equal amount of time with me, with words of genuine encouragement, without being sappy or pietistic. Like the man mentioned above, she confirmed that without the Lord Jesus Christ in her life, the trials and struggles that accompany this condition could well have broken her. She, too, remarked how her faith has been bolstered, the opportunities to share the love of God have been many, and her comfort in His sovereignty has produced a peace that passes understanding.
James says that the trying of our faith produces endurance. I would add it also reveals to God’s people that He has placed others in various places and circumstances, ready and equipped to help us during our trials.
In the world we will have tribulation, but thanks be to God, Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33).