Yesterday, we went to a new church. I shouldn’t say “new” church because we’ve been there before. Last year we went for several weeks throughout January and February. The problem became that it was nearly a 50 mile drive and the weather became bad. In addition, we were desperately hoping to find a church family closer to home with family members. Nevertheless, we found ourselves wanting to go back. My youngest son asked me two days ago where we were going to go to church. I said we were going to the one we had gone to last year.
He said, “Oh, you mean the place where all the nice people are?”
So we went back to the place where all the nice people are. I am going to be very frank with you. I have never been to a church where so many people live out the faith they claim to espouse. Even when we were going last year, they cared about us. They tried to get to know us from Day 1. They even loved on us. You see, my husband was going to have open heart surgery. The pastor offered to come sit with me during the surgery which would have been over a 2 hour drive for him. People were praying for us, and they barely knew us. The only thing they really knew was that we were brothers and sisters in Christ, and that was all that mattered—our connection in Christ.
Yesterday, we went back. It was like going home after having been away for a very long time. Everyone remembered us, and we picked right back up where we left off.
The church family had just lost a young member, 20 years old, to a car accident laying her to rest the day before. It was heartbreaking. The father spoke about his young daughter. He shared a letter from a young girl who had her life touched by his daughter in a way that changed her relationship with God forever. I cannot honestly say that were I in his place, I would have handled it the same way. I would have been a wreck. Perhaps I might have even been angry at God. I’m just being honest.
What made this father different was the peace he had. He was confident in the promises of God through Christ Jesus, knowing that His daughter was now in her glorified body with Christ. No longer was she affected by the sins and the hardships of this life. No, now she is with God worshiping Him in glory for eternity. This brought the father great comfort. I am not sure that I have ever witnessed this type of saving faith so deeply flowing from one whose heart was broken. All glory goes to God.
After the service, this father came to greet us and welcome us back to the church. I think this is what God intended when He created the church. I think this is what God meant when He said:
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13 ESV).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us take from this poignant example of true faith and hope in Christ. Let us indeed love one another deeply, regardless of our own trials and tribulations. This is my prayer. This is my own heart’s desire. God help me!