“That the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers all suffer, together, if one is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” 1Cor12:25-27
During my thorn in the flesh, I have already seen the beauty of God’s work as a rose budding in spring season as God grows not only me, but the saints who have graciously chosen to walk this journey with me. There were some in the church who had only been acquaintances that have now become closer than a brother as they have wrapped their arms around me and helped carry my burden. Then, there are friends that the Lord gave me as an inheritance. These were Josh’s friends whom I had previously not known well, who expressed concern and prayer, and have come to be very dear to my heart. I count them as valuable gifts to me not only from the Lord, but in a way from Josh. Through this trial, I have gained friendships that have ministered to me and drawn me closer to the Christ during the fiercest storm. This is the function of the church. It is God tangibly seen in action though His body here on earth. “God has made us and redeemed us not only for Himself but for each other.” John MacArthur
I had the privilege of serving at a leadership conference at our church where 3,500 men from all over the world. There were about 800 of us volunteers from our church body serving side-by-side. It was beautiful to see the love of Christ united in service using our various gifts together for one gospel purpose. I was personally touched by friends, from all over the globe, including France, Italy and London, expressing to their love by their continued prayers, as I was there to pray and serve them! It was immensely uplifting to see saints in tears when I shared the different ways the God has answered prayer. It’s been almost one year since my husband went heaven, yet the body of Christ is still sharing in my suffering as well as my rejoicing. It has genuinely been one of the riches blessings I’ve ever received! “It’s strange to say, but it truly is a wonderful thing to be in pain and hardship and to truly smile with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ—to rejoice and to weep at the same time. That’s true faith.” (Adam Holland, Anchored in the Storm)
Sweet friends have taken my burdens as well as my joys and made them their own. Many have helped lift the weight off my shoulders when I was worn, and have been a listening ear to share my gladness of heart when I’ve had nobody by my side to share with. The church body has made all the difference during times of my own pain, betrayal, and loneliness. Sadly, I’ve discovered fair-weathered friends of which a sister likened to a shadow that is right there besides us when the sun is out, but as soon as it gets dark, disappear. I pray we would not be a mere shadow to our fellow members of Christ. May we be there to lift one another up, rain or shine.
Heavenly Father we praise you for your wonderful redemption story and for choosing us to be your holy bride. Thank you for Christ who is our head and holds us together. May we be tightly knitted together in love and truth toward the upward call you have bestowed on us. Lord, give us hearts to weep with the heartbroken and rejoice with those whose dreams come true, even if ours seem to silently wither away. We bask in the promise that you will never leave nor forsake us because of Christ. In His name.