Just a few short days ago, I wrote about the new year, wondering what it would bring. We are now 25 days into this new year and in just the last week I've heard about the following:
A young missionary couple returned to the States due to unrest in Ethiopia, but the husband/father had to return briefly to tend to some business there. While he was gone, his wife and 2 children, ages 6 months and 4 years, were in a car accident. The mother was killed, but thankfully the children are OK. However, the husband was unable to be reached. He did not receive the news until he landed at the airport in Memphis Wednesday night.
Two neighbors were out for a walk through their neighborhood. Suddenly one of them began to complain that she had a severe headache. Then she went into seizure. She has been hospitalized and is waiting for results.
The widowed aunt of a good friend was honored with a huge birthday party on Sunday, celebrating her 80th birthday. Over 100 friends and family gathered to honor this former Rockette and she had a ball!! Today she is in ICU with severe pneumonia. Having just gone through multiple heart bypass surgery a few months ago, this is extremely serious.
For each of these, one minute everything was fine; the next their world has turned upside down. These are life's "interruptions". We are never prepared for them, yet they come to each of us at one time or another. Jesus told us they would. " These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
But how does one get through such horrible tragedies? When I think of that poor young husband and father returning to the airport to learn that his bride was no longer alive, it just breaks my heart. He had no idea when he kissed her goodbye and boarded that plane for Ethiopia that he would never see her alive again. If anything, he was probably in greater danger returning to Ethiopia than she was here at home, or so it seemed. But...life takes turns and twists that we are not expecting. Then what?
First of all, knowing that this young man is a believer is paramount. He will find comfort first and foremost in Jesus Christ. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He has given us the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter and He will hold this young man in the palm of His hand. He will experience "treasures of darkness" he had never known and would not have known had he not had to walk through this dark valley. (Isaiah 45: 3)
Second, he has the love of his family and friends. They will surround him and be there for him, I'm sure.
Finally, he has his church family. They have already demonstrated their love by meeting him at the airport and breaking the news to him. He has a family in them who will love him, support him, encourage him and seek to meet the needs that he will have in the days to come.
What do people do without a church family? I believe that is one of the reasons God established the church so that we would have a "family" of believers who God would use to minister to us in time of need. I have been the recipient of that love many times and wondered then as I do now, how do people make it without that family?!
Some often argue that they don't need church, that they can commune with God anywhere. That is true. You CAN commune with God anywhere. Others argue that they can listen to good sermons on TV or the radio. That is also true. Some of the best preachers around can be heard on TV and one can learn a lot from them. But sitting alone in the woods or in front of the TV does not unite one to a "family".
God knew that we would need that family and that they would need us. He gave each of us gifts to use within that family to help it function and thrive. Some are gifted with the gift of administration. They know how to organize and get everything going. They will be the ones on the phone, organizing the preparation of meals and childcare for this young husband. Others have the gift of mercy. They will be the ones who know just what to say to him, how to comfort him and this young woman's family. They will be the ones to go to the hospital to visit those who are critically ill and minister to their families. Others have the gift of helps. They will know what to do to help these families in practical ways in the days ahead.
Therefore, it is crucial that we align ourselves with a Bible believing church. No, you won't find a perfect church. And....if you DID....and you joined it, it would no longer be perfect! But it is still imperative that you find a body of believers that you can become a part of and allow God to use you there. He is not looking for pew warmers. He is not looking for "secret shoppers" to come and critique every aspect of the church and those who are in leadership there. He is looking for a believer who will get heart deep in the ministry of that Body and make themselves available to Him as He uses their particular gift (and EVERY believer has at least ONE!) to build up and encourage the Body.
So if you are not in a church today, I encourage you to find one. Begin to pray now and ask God to direct you to the place where He would have you to serve. If you are in a church, but not actively involved, ask God to show you how you can get involved. You may not like every little thing about it, it's highly unlikely that you ever will; but remember to keep the MAIN THING THE MAIN THING! You are there #1 to worship the Lord, the God of the Universe. With that in mind, everything else should pale in comparison. And, you are there to be part of a whole, so get involved...plug in....get connected. Some day in the near future someone in that body is going to need you and you are going to need them! Life's interruptions guarantee it!!!!!!!!!!!
9 hours ago