I Want to Be Alone!
It was the last thing I wanted to do—be around a group of people.
I was bone-tired and emotionally spent. A desperate phone call the night before had left Judy and me sleepless. Two of our very best friends had been killed in a car accident in Oregon. Not only did this news break my heart, it also drained me as it pressurized my insane schedule. Somehow I had to find time to fly to Portland, do a wrenching memorial service, fly home, and get back to everything else I had to do. (On that list was taking my teenage daughter to the DMV for her driving exam.)
“I’m not going to small group tonight,” I reported to Judy. “This is nuts!”
“You don’t have a choice. We’re baptizing two new believers that you and I discipled in the pool. Everyone’s expecting us,” my bride protested.
“You go if you want,” I replied. “I’m not going; I have too much to do.” (Though I didn’t say it, I was also thinking that the last thing I wanted to do at that moment was be around a group of people . . . even if it was our church small group.)
Did You Ask Jesus?
“Suit yourself. But did you pray about it?”
There she goes, getting all spiritual on me. She knows that ticks me off.
It upset me because I knew she was right. She usually is. (Don’t tell her I said that!) It was the last thing I wanted to do, but it was exactly what the Lord knew I needed.
That was almost two decade ago, and I still remember how our friends rallied around us in ways only the Holy Spirit could orchestrate. Good friends extended such warm hospitality that seemed to unknot my stomach. Our host cooked ribs with special care for his special friends were the best ribs I ever tasted. Then there was the heartfelt encouragement:
“You okay? Anything I can do for you or Judy while you’re up north?”
“So sorry to hear about your friends. We’ll be praying for you on the morning of the funeral.”
As we gathered together and we baptized a few new believers, I knew God’s Spirit was speaking to me. “This is what you live for, Ed. This is why I called you to Myself. There’s nothing like the enthusiasm and deep sincerity of newly committed believers. What a privilege to share their new life with these people.”
Glad You Came?
And then the poignant question, “Aren’t you glad you came?
Truth was . . . I was glad I came. I left our small group that night encouraged in ways only a group of intimate friends in Christ could make possible. King David was exactly right when he described this joy: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it its for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1).
Christian, you need community the most when you want to go the least.
What about you? In the good times as well as the bad times . . . do you have a group of redeemed friends whose protective love encourages you to walk with the Savior? If you don’t, you’re missing out on an incredible dynamic of your walk with God . . . the sweet fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ who are nothing less than extensions of His grace and love. They’re His provision to support you no matter what you’re facing right now! Get involved in a small group today—you’ll be glad you did!
Question: What is the number one reason Christians avoid intimate community?