When I look back over the past five or six years and think about the changes I’ve gone through in my life, the storm and trials, I can’t help but think of all the ways my Christian community helped me through them.
Typically we think about the help a community provides during a trial – support, prayers, help with physical needs – but even more critical are the ways community can help prepare you to be stronger when that change hits.
Just as these adult elephants help this baby elephant when he falls down in the video below, our community should also be there to teach us, protect us and help us when we fall.
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Let’s look at the ways community is so vital in helping us prepare before a storm, supporting us through a storm and bringing us back after a storm.
Community roots us deeper so we are prepared to withstand the storms of life
[callout]So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:22-25 MSG)[/callout]
Just as a tree needs deep, strong roots to withstand the strong winds and heavy storms, so we also need strong roots in our faith and our community to withstand life’s strongest trials.
While we can read and study the Bible on our own, the discussion, different viewpoints, and observations you hear in a group will greatly enhance your own study and understanding. My faith has grown exponentially because of the learning I’ve done in community, so much more than I could have learned on my own.
Learning from those ahead of you on the faith journey is also a vital part of community. See firsthand what faith can mean in someone’s life. Learn how a stronger faith can help someone withstand life’s storms better. Observe what that faith and trust in God looks like in someone’s daily life.
Community sustains and supports us through the storm
[callout]That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:25-27 ESV)[/callout]
When the storms of life do hit, when we’re faced with change, community is there to support us. Each member of your community is equipped in different ways, but each are there support you.
Some may pray with or for you. Others may bring food. Still others may provide wise counsel and guidance. Others may help hold you accountable to make the changes you need to make to follow God’s plan, not your own.
Community eases the transition out of the storm
[callout]Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:8-11 ESV)[/callout]
As we come through a storm, we may need a time of transition. Maybe we need to grieve a loss. Our community will grieve with us, sustaining us through that grief process, but also pulling us out of it when it’s time to move forward.
We also need to celebrate. Celebrate God’s work in our life, God’s power of redemption, God’s grace and forgiveness, God’s love and support through a difficult trial, God’s healing. Community will be there to celebrate with us and keep us focused on the true hero of our story – God.
[reminder preface=”Question:”]How has your community helped you navigate life’s storms?[/reminder]
[callout]This post is part of the “A Better Change” series. For more information on this series and to find related posts, click here: A Better Change Series – Overview[/callout]
Sharing with: Coffee and Conversation, Wednesday Prayer Girls, Coffee For Your Heart, Thriving Thursday
Great words of wisdom here. I think it would truly be a blessing to belong to a community like this. Can’t say I have truly experienced it yet though. Thanks for the beautiful share!
You know, this is a growth area for me. I’m not very good at relationships and making friends, so have always struggled to find a real community. Only recently I’m realizing that I’ve fallen into (or more likely, God’s led me into) just such a community – but it’s taken some years for me to grow into it and release myself to make those connections. Keep looking and building.
So true! It’s not IF the storms of life hit….it’s WHEN! God designed us for fellowship and community to outlast every storm. Thanks for the affirmation!