This is a post that has been bouncing around in my head for a while. I’m not sure I should even put my words out there but, for me, it helps to process my thoughts.
If you follow me on Facebook, you know that this weekend was the funeral of a friend of ours. While funerals are never a happy thing, this one was beautiful because everything that was said pointed to God. Jake’s faith was strong, and listening to those close to him tell of it was very inspiring.
There was one recollection in particular, though, that really got me thinking. It also made me think that I am missing something in my life. That something is community…strong, committed community.
Now before I write anymore, I should make a confession. The fact that I am missing that sense of community in my life is partly my own fault and partly the fault of where circumstances have brought me. I am an introvert by God’s design. To try to change that would be like trying to change an apple into an orange. It just cannot be done. Being an introvert, though, doesn’t mean I am incapable of sustaining relationships with others. It does mean that my meaningful relationships are with a few close people. Having many people around me for too long is actually exhausting to me. So, perhaps this lack of community in my life can be blamed partly on that. Also, circumstances have put us in a place where we live pretty far away from the church we have chosen to call our spiritual home. That makes it very difficult to form the kind of community that I am referring to in this post. We are hoping that will change at some point, but right now, this is the way it has to be.
All that said, as I listened to the pastor talk about Jake on Saturday, he told about the last time he spent time with him. I was in awe of how that played out. Jake and Maggie had a small group that met in their home on Sunday evenings. Last Sunday–one week ago today–their small group showed up as usual. Jake was nearing the end of his life and he knew that. As he sat in the recliner, this pastor, who was part of this small group, sat down next to him. Jake looked at him and said, “I’m good. You see, if God wants to heal me right now, I would like that. I would be healed. But if he doesn’t, if I don’t beat this cancer, I go to heaven and be with Jesus. I win either way.” They sang and prayed with Jake and his wife that evening. In the very early morning hours on Tuesday–not even two full days later–Jake did win. He left earth and stepped into heaven.
What strong community Jake and Maggie were a part of. I think most people would have not wanted to have small group under those circumstances. They may have said they didn’t want to impose or interfere with family. Not these folks. They rallied around this family when their need was at its deepest. They didn’t mind getting into the trenches and dealing with what may have been an uncomfortable situation. They weren’t afraid to love right up to the end. Obviously, Jake and Maggie must have given their okay for the group to be there. Still, how many groups would do that?
The more I thought about what took place there, the more I thought about how that kind of community is missing in my life. Maybe that is because I’ve not been in a situation like our friends were in. The thought that bothered me, though, was that if I did find myself in that situation, would there be people like that in the lives of myself and my family? Am I part of a community that committed?
I wish I could answer that question with one hundred percent certainty.