When the road you are walking on shakes and the thunder vibrates your path, it’s hard to keep your faith from flustering. It’s hard not to question your walk, your direction. It’s hard not to let a dart of doubt strike you – – it’s hard not to have a faith puncture right in your side. It’s the reality of the hardships of this life. We are a human lifetime short of eternity. And, sometimes we feel it more than we want to.
I think about the girlfriends in my life. I think about my own life. I think about how we, in a healthy way, process difficulties. It’s about giving my time and timeline to God. Turning over my thoughts to Him. Hearing Him lead me to scriptures. It’s a process of letting go, giving God the reins and going where He leads. It’s a process of building up faith to the point of total commitment to God’s plans for your life. You are eventually washed in the belief that God is only good and His care for you goes on indefinitely. This is how, for the most part, the believer processes hardship, life’s difficulties.
I tell you about these things because they’re true. But it’s only half of the story. There is another piece to a walk of hardship. God’s hand also holds you through the body of Christ. Recently, God has shown me the beauty of the body. I want to share with you a few examples of the body of Christ working in the lives of me and the sisters I have the privilege of knowing.
Many of you felt the tremor of our former pastor’s resignation last Spring. The open wounds and sadness were sort of like a Florida summer weather report where the constant rain and heat feel indefinite. But then came the ladies retreat at end of summer. I had a moment of taking in the hundreds of ladies worshipping God with pure hearts. With the kind of Crazy Love that Frances Chan writes about. With the kind of abandon that you only find when you know you have been saved by a Savior. As the Lord was allowing me to take all of that in, my faith was built in the way of the faithfulness of the body of Christ. No matter what happens on the top, where man sometimes fails, the body of believers has the ability to remain intertwined and faithful to the Living God.
Have you ever hit a brick wall? It’s the place where your faith and your life circumstances intersect. You know that God is good and His word is right, but that doesn’t gel with the facts you are facing. I had a period where my marriage seemed to be at the end. We could not see eye to eye on nonnegotiable issues for both of us. The reality of that brought me to my breaking point. At my weakest moments, I laid out my rock-and-a-hard place personal trauma. My best friend C said we are going to fast and she did that with me. Other close friends prayed and called me and took action to circle around my hardship. God worked through all of the efforts of the body of Christ to knock down an immovable brick wall.
I also see the body of Christ faithful in the way of meeting needs. And, you know, my sisters, the need is great. I think of my friend S whose dad’s life on earth ended. I think of my friend Y whose husband just had another serious surgery. I think of the 11 year old girl in my son’s class who just lost her dad unexpectedly. I see the body send meal after meal. I see the body send cards and give cash gifts to help with expenses. I see the body jump at the opportunity to be there in times of need.
What I know is that no person is an island even with God at her side. He is our sustenance. Our breath. But He made us to also need each other. Sometimes it feels like a leap of faith to accept food or money or prayers or help from a sister. It’s not natural in our culture to turn your back on complete self sufficiency. But, in God’s richness, He gives deeply through His body. I pray, I really pray, that whether you are on the giving side or the receiving side that you genuinely take in the love of Christ offered to you through the body.