Hi everyone, Rob here. We’re in the process of buying a new house for our family. Over the last week or so we’ve been amazed at the number of people who are supporting us through prayer, practical help and wise words. As I ponder this I have come to realise that God has always brought people into my/our path to communicate his love, support and presence. One of the traps that the enemy has for us is to make us feel alone in the times of our deepest troubles. We can feel isolated from people and from God at the time when we most need to reach out for their loving embrace. As John Eldredge puts it in his book Beautiful Outlaw (if you haven’t read this yet, do it!), “Suffering will try to separate you from Jesus. You must not let it (213).”
Reaching out can feel risky. People and sometimes church people especially, have a tendency to say dumb and insensitive things at times. They rush in with ‘the right answer’ before they’ve even listened properly to your heart. And like many of you I am guilty as charged! However, these are also the same people who belong to Jesus Christ, who are children of God, who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and have vital roles to play as the kingdom of God advances in this world. In other words, the risk is worth taking if you want to resist the enemy’s plans to isolate you and take you out!
Years ago we lost a baby to miscarriage. Boy, did it hurt! In fact, it hurt for years as that pain was followed by the pain of not conceiving. As our friends and family had their children the pain seemed to double. At times we felt very alone and very distant from Jesus. But the thing that we kept doing was reaching out. Friends gathered around for prayer. Others shared their stories of loss and we were able to stand with others going through similar troubles. We received medical help, counselling and encouragement. We were not alone and we chose not to walk alone. There was a happy ending and we’re now parents to two beautiful children, but it’s not a formula. We didn’t reach out because it would guarantee us a family; we reached out because our hearts needed to resist the isolation that comes through suffering. We needed to trust again in the goodness of God and a big part of how that trust got rebuilt was through the big, new hearts of his people.
We discovered the reality of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 (Message): “The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. You are Christ’s body – that’s who you are! You must never forget this.”
Isolation hurts us and hurts our communities of faith. That’s why Satan supports it so much and why we must resist it in the name of Jesus. Remember that Jesus really does understand. Just look at the garden of Gethsemane and how his friends fell asleep around him as he shed tears of blood. They all fell away as the gravity of the cross hit home. And yet after his resurrection he drew them around him again. He forgave them, restored them, empowered them and embraced their friendship of him. Our reaching out will be met with resistance and the risk may be met with cruelty at times; but God is faithful and will bring the right people into our path. He doesn’t want us to miss the opportunity for healing by being fearful of encountering hurt. He will walk with us, comfort us and en-courage us. “Do not lose heart because of your suffering; cling to Jesus (Eldredge, Outlaw, 215)” and he will lead us into his family.
Check out the video below: “Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone.”