Was there ever a time or season in your life when you felt you were living off borrowed courage or faith? Have you ever found yourself going into a conversation with a friend with little hope, and then left with a revived spirit? Or maybe, you were at the end of your rope when a friend showed up with a helping hand.
I sat across from a dear friend, holding a cup of coffee and confessing, “I don’t see how the Lord can bring any good from this.” I knew God was good in all things and I knew He could mend any broken heart, and yet, with my human eyes, I couldn’t see how He was going to do so.
My friend reached across the table, put her hand on my arm and said, “I have enough faith for the both of us.”
When reading this final chapter of Acts, that moment came to mind. Paul having been shipwrecked, imprisoned, and even beaten arrived in Rome, and what does Scripture tell us?
“The brothers from there, when they heard about us, cameas far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. When he saw them, Paul thanked God and took courage.” – Acts 28:15
At the very sight of his brothers and sisters, Paul was encouraged and thanked God. Paul “took courage.” I love that. The mere presence of community – his brothers and sisters – gave Paul the courage to carry on. It caused him to thank his maker. Then we see the fruit of that encouragement: Paul immediately got back to the business of sharing the Good News of Jesus.
“Paul lived there two whole years in his own rented quarters and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete boldness and without restriction.” – Acts 28:30-31
Paul’s bold proclamation of the Kingdom of God was fueled by sweet Christian community.
Sisters, make no mistake. The gift of godly community is a powerful force to be reckoned with. When you are at your worst, depleted from hardship, it’s then you need to run to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. When you cannot see how God is going to redeem that difficult road you’re on, don’t isolate yourself – borrow courage and faith from your fellow sisters in Christ. You might not be able to see or feel the difference immediately, but true Christian community will not only carry you through, it will unleash you to proclaim God’s goodness even in the midst of a storm.
I don’t write this from a high place, but from my lowest one. The truth is, I could not see how God could work in the rubble of my life. But my friend was right. She reached across the table, grabbed my arm, and let me borrow her courage and faith. A seed of hope was planted that day, and it grew into a beautiful redemption story. God didn’t work in the way I thought He would, but He weaved together something beautiful that reflected His goodness and His gospel story. My life is a testimony to the goodness Christian community can bring in the middle of life’s storms. When my faith was weary, the faith of a dear sister carried me.
As we finish the book of Acts, may we see how God not only used Paul, but He used God’s people to proclaim His Good News. May we look at what the Lord did through His people and be inspired to press into Christian community. May we be faithful brothers and sisters who reach across the table and proclaim, “Borrow my faith, I have enough for the two of us” whenever it’s our turn to encourage.