Zero Degrees of Separation


by Marilyn Ehle

online daily devotionalThe body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body…” 1 Corinthians 12:12

Six degrees of separation” is the unproven theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. While the theory can be the basis of stimulating conversation, it is just that: a theory.

In an email from friends ministering in Peru, we received word that Libby, their sister-in-law in the United States, was dying from a traumatic emergency that occurred shortly after giving birth to a baby boy. Doctors fought to save her, but life was literally draining from her body and they gave little hope that she would survive. Her husband, family members and Christian friends gathered in or near her room to plead with God for her survival and health. Although we did not personally know this woman, we too began to pray. Soon we began hearing from people who somehow knew Libby and her family. From Peru to Indiana to Pennsylvania to New York to Europe and Asia, this “connection” surfaced and was strengthened.

It took many weeks before Libby began to improve; medical personnel were amazed and many wept as Libby took her first halting steps. It was many more weeks before she could return to her and family. Physical healing was truly a miracle. But another miracle had taken place: Christians again proved that in the family of Christ, there is no such thing as “six degrees of separation.” We are all connected not by blood relationships but by the blood of Christ, a far stronger bond.

Jesus had observed in His disciples how quickly dissension could enter the ranks and spoil the mission. He prayed, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name…so that they may be one even as we are one…so that the world may believe that you have sent me…” So that the world may believe. There is no randomness in God’s plan; as we live out unity with our brothers and sisters in visible ways, the world’s defenses can be broken as they marvel, “See how they love one another.”

Lord, I have experienced the deep bonds in your family, but I also know how quickly I can bruise my brothers and sisters with thoughtless words or a judgmental attitude. Help me look upon my family members with your eyes.

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