One of the greatest conundrums I have faced in Fall semester of 2017 is the connection between personal relationship with God, vulnerability, and biblical community.
It is noted that Jesus would spend a tremendous amount of time by himself with God. In fact, the disciples had to look for Jesus, whether He hid in the heights of the mountains, or the corners of the city, or alone (yet not alone) in His room, and drag Him out to all the wounded and possessed to heal them and to preach to them.
That personal relationship with God is something I desired to wrestle for throughout the past semester.
Solemn nights at home in God’s presence, or cold quiet mornings communicating with Him at the front of the UT tower, I couldn’t get enough of Him (something I felt was both selfish, but somehow correct). Those times of pain, loneliness, and darkness brought beautiful moments of grace when presented to God. I found myself continuing to cast my anxieties to Him, crying out for restoration, for future hope, for what was promised. Even though the trials I have faced have subtly subsided, I still yearn daily for that deep personal time with Him.
But when I pursued after God, I decided to completely neglect another important thing — biblical community. Though as followers of Christ, we must do our part in bringing what we face to God first, once we have reconciled or reached a certain conclusion, we must seek out accountability and share. As parts of the body of Christ, not only do we hold different roles in the Church, but we are called to hold each other accountable and share with one another vulnerably. That level of vulnerability may vary, but as a Church, we want to rejoice when one rejoices, and mourn when one mourns. To point each other towards Christ, and to encourage with the truths and promises of God. To pray over trials and sing psalms and praises together.
And I failed to do it.
I was tricked into thinking my problems were my own. As I was groaning under the pains of my own trials, I saw brothers and sisters in Christ also facing hardships and pains of their own. I was conflicted. How could I give an added dose of troubles to my friends who needed someone else to lift them up? Who also needed the same encouragement I needed? To stay silent would be better, being the sacrificial lamb so others may live well and better than me. Aren’t we called to serve? Isn’t this right?
I ended up tripping, and almost falling off a cliff of despair in those silent periods of time. Sure, I brought my pains to God, and was restored and encouraged. My heart fell so in love with God and His truths during that time.
But there was no follow up. There was no accountability. There was no biblical community to mourn or rejoice with me.
“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
-1 Corinthians 12:26 ESV
And I fell into a deeper pit. God always brought me out (thank the Lord), but that pit continued to dig itself deeper and deeper. It brought my mind to places it never would’ve witnessed several months ago. And as I continued to stay silent, and pretend everything was all right, or groan a bit discomfortedly whenever I was in Life Group, I felt my connection to biblical community diminish almost to nothing.
It became 10Xs harder to be vulnerable to community, and a 100Xs rougher as the year came to an end.
I’m sure that if I didn’t have God during that time, the relationship and the time of communication with Him, I might’ve given up my faith, or probably wouldn’t be here right now.
But that didn’t happen, and God was good in that near the end of the semester, He revealed how much I needed to integrate myself more into biblical community. Those late nights of sharing with younger brothers in Christ, sleepovers talking about faith, and random moments of prayer that could only described to be wrapped in faith lifted me up and restored a bit of my relationship with community — I was able to have a taste of what God calls us to be as a Church who walk together in life.
I share this, because I’m so blessed to know a God who is so powerful and so good.
I share this, because I hope you won’t make the mistake I made in not drawing near to biblical community.
I share this, because if you’re going through a rough time, I pray that you will cling on to God.
It’s easy to get lost in the loneliness, depression, or other struggles in life. The sorrows are scarring and the hardships leave wounds that seem unhealable. But in that time, when everything is stripped away, and even when the storms are bashing at you endlessly and you feel vulnerably ruined, cling to Him.
You may not be able to take on what is against you, pray the prayer, or speak truth to yourself.
But God can.
Turn to Christ. To the Holy Spirit. To the Father.
Christ will restore you and redeem you. The Father will come and love you. And the Spirit will come and intercede for your groanings, lifting you up in every way that you yourself never had to do.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
- Romans 8:26–27 ESV
As always, thanks for taking time out of your days to read my posts and being willing to reflect with me over stuff in my life. I love you guys, whether you know it or not! Good luck with your week! keep on fighting the good fight and running the race, and I’ll see y’all in the next blog post. God bless!
To His glory, and for our good,