Theology According to Tom and Diana Rea

To say that the only thing that is important in a Christian’s life is love is simply untrue.

Personally, just me personally, I do not know two more godly people than Tom and Diana Rea. In a world of over 5 billion people, there may be someone who is more godly, but I don’t know them. But I do know Tom and Diana Rea.

I first met Diana in college 25 years ago. In those days I remember her as a girl sharper than most—a leader—an influencer—the kind of person who changed people’s lives for the better just by being with them. People wanted to follow her because they knew she loved them and she had a way of making things fun—much more fun than they would have been without her. We’ve all known, to one degree or another, people like that. They are so rare. And they are always a gift of God.

After college Diana married Tom. It was soon in their young family life that they had a newborn child die of SIDS. I remember my wife and I visiting them shortly afterward. We were amazed then how they seemed to be handling this tragedy that invaded their happy family. They certainly grieved deeply, but there was something transparently different in how they grieved. I’ve never forgotten the impression that afternoon visit made on my mind.

Later they served for many years as church-planting missionaries in France. Because of rather significant and potentially fatal health complications due to some kind of dental malpractice while in France, Diana had to return to the US for medical care with their now rather large family. They eventually moved to Hermann, MO., where Tom took a pastorate at a church. To be honest, I’ve lost count of how many kids they’ve had after their sixth, or even seventh, but they have been blessed with a large and loving family.

But today I received an email that made me weep. Let me share with you some selected snippets from an email from Tom Rea that he sent out to the members of their church. As you read it, ask yourself a simple question—Does a person’s doctrine—does a person’s knowledge and understanding of God revealed in biblical theology—matter in how they authentically live and love with their lives?

A Personal Note from Tom & Diana
Thank you again many times over for all the prayers, kind thoughts, food, and support you have given our family during these recent weeks as Diana has recovered from her third lung surgery of the summer. It is hard to express how timely your food gifts have been to our family these past couple of weeks as we try to maintain something of a normal family and work life and still give Diana time to recuperate.

…I wanted to let you know that we learned this week that the reports from the Mayo Clinic on both lung biopsies performed during her surgeries indicate that Diana has a rare type of cancer known as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It usually shows up many years after the asbestos exposure. Where Diana was at some point in her life exposed to asbestos, we have no idea.

So, it has been a roller-coaster week for Diana and for our family. Yet, we give praise to God that although this case seems perplexing and even distressing to us, God is not perplexed in the least, nor is He distressed. In fact, He is right where He’s always been, and so, too, for that matter, is Diana! As a family, we are comforted – even satisfied – in the knowledge that she belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. She has known Him as her own Savior and Lord since she was a teenager, and because He gave His life to save hers, she has been compelled – out of love for Him – to follow Him through the good times and through the not-so-good times. He will guide her – and all of us – through these times too.

We have so much for which to be thankful!
• A caring church family. Again, you have been a great support. Thank you for all you do.
• Amazing doctors and nurses who really care….
• A wonderful family. What do you do on the day you tell your children the doctors are saying their mother has cancer? Well, it was such a nice day, while Diana was napping we just went out and had a good game of baseball.
• The body of Christ. The leadership team Emma is a part of at Columbia Bible College sent us a beautiful, fun package of letters along with a sno-cone machine for our family here! What a surprise! What kind and good friends. We are looking forward to getting to know them better. Other friends of ours came last Friday to help with ironing, to cut up a fallen tree in the woods next to our house, and to watch the kids and give Diana and I time to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary.
• For the certainty of eternal life. We know that God keeps securely what we have entrusted to Him. What have we entrusted to God? Our very lives – our eternal destinies.

We look forward to seeing you this weekend as we worship the Lord together!

So please don’t tell me theology doesn’t matter.

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