I Need the ChurchBy Becky Willey
September 29, 2020
I need the church! Having been a part of the church my whole life and as a pastor’s wife for 20 years, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly…but I still love it. One of the things this pandemic has taught me is that God’s idea of reaching the world through the church is a good one. We need it and we need each other.
Our Christian lives are not meant to be lived in isolation…we were designed for community. Rob and I have been privileged to lead a young married small group for the past few years. These couples are serious about the Lord and living life together. And as their leader, I learn more from them than they ever learn from me. They keep “roping” me in to exciting new adventures with them– things I would never do on my own.
This past year alone, we all bought pretty new prayer journals and committed to use them. We completed an amazing study on prayer, memorized Romans 8, and committed to read through the Bible together in a year. Before the group decided to read the Bible in a year, I had already decided that I would take a year off from chronological Bible reading; but God knew better. The small group gals were excited about a great new plan that we could do together. The rest is history.
God knew that a Bible reading plan would bring structure to the chaos of 2020. He knew that it would take me places I would otherwise not go. He knew that while trudging through the Old Testament, I would catch glimpses of grace and truth that I needed to get through another day of isolation and fear.
Like today. I am currently in Jeremiah and I can tend to get lost in the warnings of an old guy to a rebellious group of people about impending death and destruction. But every once in a while, a verse jumps out at me like a buried treasure. A bright and shiny word from the Lord that encourages my heart and gives life to my weary bones. Today it was Jeremiah 6:16: “Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”
Maybe you need this verse today, too. Maybe you need to…
Stop walking. Stop running. Stop worrying. Stop wallowing. Stop fretting. Just stop for a moment and stand. Be still. Pause. Wait.
Open your eyes and look to see what God is doing. Take your eyes of your present circumstances and look around. People are hurting and afraid and they need the hope and peace that is found only in Jesus. I have committed during these crazy days to ask God daily to help me see what He wants me to see. He never fails to show me something I know I would have missed in my own vision.
ASK…for the ancient paths where the good way is.
The ancient paths that Jeremiah speaks of are the ways of faithfulness revealed to Moses. The good way is a life of faith-driven obedience on those paths. This obedience means going where God wants you to go and doing what He wants you to do. Ask God what he has for you.
Obey. Do what he asks. Even if you don’t want to. Even when it isn’t convenient. Even when you are afraid.
In the past two months, God has answered when I asked, and I have tried to walk in obedience to what He has for me. He led me to stop everything I was doing and drive to a friend’s house to pray for her after the loss of her brother. He led me to leave the comfort of my house and walk outside to help the neighbors clean up after our Iowa “hurricane.” He led me to offer to pray on the phone for an acquaintance who was afraid. He led me to start an online Bible study with a friend from work. What a blessing it has been to do as he directed.
I am learning that the chaos around me doesn’t stop. Fear and anxiety can overcome me as the sin in this world abounds. The only way to find rest and peace for my soul is by walking with Jesus and obeying His Word.
God has blessed that recently by beginning new relationships with neighbors; hearing that an acquaintance has begun to watch our services online; and even saving my work friend—all because I was reading through Jeremiah.
Thank you, Lord, for showing up once again during my Bible reading. Thank you for this simple gem hidden in the middle of a crazy book—a treasure that I might have missed had I not listened to my small group in January.
I better go check in with my ladies. Who knows what they have for me next?
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