The Fall of 2019 was a cavernous pit of misunderstanding God’s work in my life. Questioning His desires and even doubting His will. If you have visited this blog before, then you’re familiar with the root of all of this, but last time I wrote I was still sitting in uncertainty just working to remind myself that God was good no matter what had happened or what questions I had brought before him.
We wait for the answer to the “why me” question a lot, don’t we? God revealed that why to me at the women’s retreat this past February. Speaker after speaker, song after song, my hardened heart towards God’s desires for my life began to soften. I began to see the why so clearly. The final session of the retreat God gave me a vision of the beach, waves crashing around me. I saw only one set of footprints. One after another, thinking they were my own, but then a second set appeared. I felt the familiar feeling of being carried, head upon His warm shoulder and then my body slowly slipping out of his arms and my feet stepping upon the soft sand. The first set was that of Jesus and the second set was mine – better yet, more prints followed. Those of the ones that bore the weight of my aching body as well. The community that had carried me.
Now more than ever, don’t you feel the ache of not seeing others? The feeling of isolation in our homes without the warmth of an embrace, yet the join of a picture made possible by apps and social media. That’s because God desired us to be in community.
The oh so familiar verse comes to mind –
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, ibut how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
We see written on cute signs in Hobby Lobby and read at the end of wedding ceremonies, but have you really thought about how important this is? ALL of us have experienced this at some point. Starting from a young age all the way into adulthood, God reminds us of the never-ending importance of communing with others. We simply cannot do this life alone. Even more so, being with others attracts the presence of the Holy Spirit – the very nearness of God.
In Matthew 18:20, His word reminds us “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them”. God desires us to be together, even in these times where we feel so distant. Do not allow this time to be an entryway for the enemy to fully isolate you. Drop off all that stress-baking you’re doing to a friend, schedule a FaceTime session with someone who needs encouragement, engage in the online presence of the Church. We need people now more than ever. Let us long to know the gift of community and to seek it out even when it feels lost. It will heal your very heart and spur on your faith in ways you could never even imagine.
Three weeks after I returned to work, I began the numbing process of weekly routines. If anything, I invited it in and then allowed it to burn into the walls of our home. I desired to be alone, to wallow in my grievances with God. When people asked how I was, I answer with “I’m here” rather than accept the kindness they were offering in the question. God abruptly ended my please for solitude with a phone call telling me to pack a bag. I said no and found myself wanting to be alone. On the way to do so, I’m stopped by another asking to pray for me. I could not escape the hands of community. So I packed a bag and rode silently to the North Georgia mountains to hike away my pain. There, I found myself in a cavernous pit, with others and the views of a raging waterfall, but this time the pit was different. It was where I rested my weary soul and sought the joy of community. It was where I allowed the arms to pick me and carry me until my legs found strength again. It was there where God reminded me that I was being carried by community and six months later on the coast of South Carolina, He gave me my why.
Will you do this one thing for me, friend? When the darkness creeps in – will you not look inward but outward. Will you tell someone when you need them or accept their help when offered? Will you invite the Holy Spirit into your life through community? Will you put down your pride and allow yourself to be carried? I hope so. Because it will save your life. It will rock your faith and allow God’s power to intervene in your life like never before.
Holy Spirit, you are welcome in this place of gathering with one another through written word. Would you put pockets of time into our day that involve reaching out to love ones and friends – just to see their face on a screen. Thank you, sweet Jesus, for the most treasured gift of others. Thank you that we do not have to do life alone. Show us places where we can be that community for others. Show us areas of life where we are striving on our own and humble us to your call to lay down our pride and accept your presence and the presence of others. When we are able to return to the life we once know – do not let us delay in meeting with one another. Keep us from taking advantage of the gift of gathering. Thank you for your arms and the arms of others that are walking us home to your Kingdom each day. Amen.