There are moments in my life when I feel lonely, anxious, and sad. Some seasons, I feel these emotions more than others. I think the whole world has felt these emotions in a heightened way due to the crises our world has gone through, and is still going through. There is nothing new under the sun, as each generation on this earth experiences the pains of loneliness, anxiety, and sadness, for this world is a fallen one. However, I think it is important to point out that this is far from what we were made for.
When God created us He did so with true desire and elation. He placed within us a deep desire for intimate connection, peace, and joy. These desires were meant to be first and foremost and fully met through connection with God. When humanity fell short and sinned against God, we were separated from Him. Now we can partake in intimacy with God through the blood of Jesus, God incarnate, who paid for our sins in full on the cross. Therefore, those who believe in Jesus tell a different kind of story; their story does not end with pain but begins with hope. What is different about being a believer in Jesus is not that the pain of this world disappears but that the believer has divine power living inside of them, and a God who is always with them, redeeming pain and providing hope for a glorious future.
The Word of God is powerful. I marvel at the words from 1 Peter 4, inspired by God. He tells us that we not only have full access to His presence through prayer, but that He has crafted us for connection with other humans so that we can feel His love tangibly as we walk this earth. This is the church, and “church” is not a building, but a family bonded together by the blood of Christ; it is Christ’s sacred body. Whenever I walk into a local gathering of believers who love God’s Word, abide by it, and are full of the Spirit of love—the Spirit of God—I feel like those people are my family, instantly. I have feelings of peace and hope, for I know I am not alone in the fight for truth, light, and life.
As a child, I grew up watching the local believers provide for my family’s needs time and time again. When everyone in our family got sick, there would be meals at our house for a week. When we needed a place to stay, my parents would call someone from our church. When we needed help moving, people from our church would willingly lend a hand. When our family went through a difficult time, our church came around us and met physical needs and prayed for us. Indeed, it is this to what we are called to: prayer, love, hospitality, service, and encouragement, one unto another, all unto Him, in response to His mighty love.
While church can be a vibrant source of life and connection, no church is perfect, for no human is perfect. Many have been hurt by those in the church who have claimed to love God. If you have experienced such hurt, I want you to know that human behavior and sin do not minimize the love and care God has for you. Your emotions are real and are worth being processed, for you are worth being heard and always worth being treated with dignity and love. I also want to encourage us all to fervently seek after God, for anyone who knows God knows love. May God grant us the strength to forgive those who have hurt us and extend toward all people the kindness God has shown us.
Even as we heal from church wounds or wrestle with differences of opinion within the church body, the most important thing is that believers center around, hand in hand, the unchanging truth that God created, God loves, and God saves. The blood of Christ and the love of Christ is the strongest force, which bonds believers everywhere. Everyone has a place to belong in the Body of Christ, with God as Father over all. I pray the Lord will lead you to a space where you can take part in such a royal, sacred lineage. You were made for it and are worth it.
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