I’m an idealist and I’ve had to actually learn over the years how to apply, to my life, the truth that we do not live in an ideal world and do not deal with ideal situations. Oftentimes I have to do that daily. Whew, what a job when you consider on top of that my sin of expectations.
When we moved 17 years ago it was 45 miles from my church and church family and I have to tell you I struggled beyond the norm. I was out of the local phone area, I drove 90 miles round trip to church, I didn’t know a single soul in this town, I had to start working out of the home, I didn’t ‘feel’ like I had any spiritual support (my husband being an unbeliever), I missed frequent fellowship, I felt abandoned, forgotten and neglected, my expectations were dashed and on and on I could go with the changes and the effects of that move. I remember each morning that in order to get out of bed in faith I would sing…..’this is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it’ and I would get up and start again. The Lord is so gracious to me and because His mercy is new every morning, I remember those struggles and what He has taught me through them. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything, for you see, He grew me up, He matured me in the faith.
My circumstances are still the same and we actually have 2 churches now and the brethren of both are scattered apart by many miles. We wonder how we can have a ‘community life’ when we don’t really have a community and how we can fulfill the command to love one another. What is the truth of the matter, is it the same for you and for me?
I can tell you how the truth of the matter has worked out in my life, my days. I learned first of all that the Lord provides me with everything that I need, He upholds me, He alone is faithful and I can always depend upon Him. I discovered that not everyone has the same desires that I do for an intimate bond of fellowship in Christ; I learned that it takes a commitment of time and energy to give of ourselves because it doesn’t only involve the joys of a bond, it involves the heartaches and offences as well. I learned that I have to be a listener, that I must forgive, that I am to think more highly of the other than I do myself (now that’s a hard one), that I am to be an encourager, that I am to be kind and tenderhearted and truthful. Wow, is this something I can do?
I have 3 people in my life that strive with me in this bond of fellowship daily, 2 of them are not even in the church that I attend. For me it isn’t the bigger picture of community life but the giving of ourselves to those saints the Lord has put in our lives for that very purpose. The fulfillment of the desire for this great bond here will only become reality in heaven when we have complete and true fellowship with Him. Until that time I count myself truly blessed to have that type of relationship with a few. I wish the same for you.