When God Binds Hearts Together....

Verna and I want to thank you for your continued interest and prayer for Marv Sparks. It's what makes the community we enjoy in Christ so compelling. For those who may not know Marv is the father of the woman (Sarah) Jono is planning to marry later this year. A few weeks ago Marv hit a deer on his way to work and was thrown out of his vehicle. He was life-flighted to the hospital with serious injuries and has been in intensive care since the accident. On January 26 Jono called us with news that they didn't think Marv would survive the day. Verna, Liz and I packed up as quickly as we could and headed for Ohio thinking we might be attending a funeral. Thankfully (and miraculously) Marv stabilized and continues to recover as I write.

On one level I've been surprised by how deep my emotional connection to Marv and Diana (his wife) has been through this difficult season. We met them just a few weeks before the accident during Christmas. We spent a few days with Marv and Diana over Christmas as part of a surprise visit to see Jono. We had a wonderful couple of days together. 

On another level it's no surprise at all. What brought us together initially was the stories of our kids. Jono and Sarah have each lived stories that can best be described as 'wild at heart' - marked by disappointment, hurt, steps of courageous faith and experiences with God's special provision for them. As a father I've watched Jono's journey with both concern (okay 'fear') and amazement. Yet at every turn God shows up in ways that takes my breath away. In bringing Jono and Sarah together we all sense God is once again doing something special in their story.

Marv and Diana are wonderful people. Easy and fun to be around. Tender hearts for the Lord. They lead lives that matter. Even apart from Jono and Sarah we would love being friends with them. But what drew our hearts to them was a faith that sees and respects what God is doing in the lives of our children. They accept and embrace our 'wild at heart' often 'outside the box' son. In doing so not only have they given Jono a special gift, they've given Verna and me a special gift. When someone believes in your children your hearts are bound together in a special way.

As we drove up to Ohio a few weeks ago to join them in the Miami Valley ICU it was almost a month to the day after we made the same drive to join them for Christmas. A lot had changed in that month. We were not driving up as friends but as family.

Fighting for your hearts,

Gary