This afternoon at our People of Praise branch meeting, Paul & Andrea Kane walked to the back of the room. There were a variety of furtive looks toward the back where she was. I tried not to be distracted from the meeting, but it was very apparent that we all indeed were distracted. It was then announced that she was suffering from a kidney stone attack, and we all turned and extended our hands and prayed for her. We then continued with the meeting. Toward the end, she returned to her seat and appeared to be back to herself. Amidst the final song, there was a lot of cheering at her return.

Of course, my first reaction to seeing her was joy at her return, and joy that she was able to raise her arms and praise God while just previously she was laying prostrate on the ground in pain.

But my second, and enduring reaction is my experience of the joy and relief that flooded throughout the room. I guess I'm an observer at heart, but I couldn't help but stand "outside" the shared experience and marvel at it itself. In fact, it seemed to strike me even more, both at first glance, and onward, more than Andrea's actual relief. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy her pain went away, but I guess I am more happy at what that reduction in pain resulted in. As a body of friends, we shared in Andrea's pain, and in doing so, we shared even more fully in her relief. It flowed through us like a wind.

Earlier in the meeting, Linda Porto had given us a word from the Lord that she had received. It was expressed more fully in a few sentences, but the first sentence was, "Because of you, my people, I am not alone in my suffering."