MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, October 18th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Most Christian parents know this challenge: It’s Sunday morning, you need to get kids up, fed, cleaned-up, dressed, and through the church doors on time with a smile. Here’s WORLD commentator Whitney Williams on finding God’s grace in the chaos.
WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: Sunday morning, 7:30 a.m. Youngest son reports a tummy ache. “Oh, I’m sorry, baby,” I say on our way out the door, stroking his face and offering him some water. “Time to go!” I holler through the house toward the other two kids. We’ve got plans, you see: Drive by two homes that just hit the market, hit up Sonic Drive-In for my husband’s weekly Route 44 unsweet tea and junior breakfast burrito, and head on to church.
“Y’all get buckled up,” I say, but instead, the aforementioned son drops to the floor of our minivan and gets ready to let his breakfast go. I grab him by his armpits and slide him on his stomach toward the open van door just in time.
“Guess we’re not going to church,” my husband comments as he watches the scene unfold.
All dressed up and ready to go, our family of five slogs back inside to watch church online.
But over the next hour, as we wait for the service to begin, a miraculous healing seems to take place. Our sickly son is now playing, smiling, eating … “This kid’s fine,” my husband and I decide. No fever. No other symptoms. Must have been a fluke. “Load up, everyone. We can still make it!”
Let he who is without a parenting misjudgment cast the first stone.
On the way again, I think about what a gift it is to gather together each week with our church family of 13 years. We’re not a perfect group—even our pastors would admit to that—but maybe that’s what makes a great church: Authenticity, humility, love, and commitment to Christ and his bride in sin sickness and in health. Some of these Sunday morning mercies, I decide in the church parking lot, just can’t be transmitted through a screen.
As my husband puts the van in park, I reach back to pat my little guy’s knee. “You still feel OK, baby?” “Yeah,” he answers.
I grab his hand and we head across the parking lot. “Yep. He’s fine. We’re fine. Everything’s fine,” I think to myself. But just as we reach the outdoor welcome table, something comes over him and it becomes clear to me that he is not fine. That we are not fine.
No trash can in sight, the restroom light years away, I watch, helpless, as my little boy lets it go right there on the church’s front porch.
“Doesn’t exactly leave the best first impression for visitors,” I joke with the welcome team as I rinse the concrete with a pitcher full of water I borrowed from the coffee bar.
But maybe our mess on the front steps of the church sends exactly the right message to visitors, I thought, as we made our way back home to watch the service online: “Welcome to church: A place for the sick.”
I’m Whitney Williams.
WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.