December 7, 2021
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people…” (Acts 2:44-47, NIV).
Six children, five at home, and a husband with advanced cancer for the last year, perhaps for not much longer. She has the sweetest disposition and the utmost peace I have ever witnessed in such trying circumstances. I caught her in the hall and asked her how she was doing in the struggle. “I’m fine,” she said. “I’ve got a great support group.” Then she added, “I don’t know how people without the church make it through things like this.”
It amazes me how anyone survives the struggles of life without the church.
It also amazes me that they do, and often without even understanding why the church is necessary.
People without God and the fellowship of His believers do survive their struggles. They do find ways to maneuver through the difficulties of life, and they even find ways to be happy, though their happiness treads heavily on thin ice.
Happiness is based on the interaction of desires, expectations, circumstances and community. When you compare these conditions between those within the church and those without, both groups have similar life circumstances: young mothers on both sides lose husbands with cancer. Both desire to have their families whole. Both know that life can be cruel; both have times of happiness, and both have communities of support.
The difference is the thickness of the ice upon which each is walking. Those who desire only worldly happiness, reject a relationship with God and depend upon the sacrificial love of Godless people are walking on a foundation that is constantly cracking beneath them. All will fall through before reaching the other shore.
Those who have found an eternal relationship with Christ and have settled into the sacrificial support of His church may fall and tear open new wounds as often as the others, but the foundation upon which they travel will always hold, and they are never in danger of falling through into a cold and dark water that lasts forever.
The sorrow of my patient’s wife is as deep and real as anyone’s, but she will be victorious, and her foundation will not fail. Christ beckons her from the far side of the lake—she will persevere within a church who loves her, and she will arrive.
Let me lean on You and Your church when my life is hard. Let me be the church for others when they struggle as well.