By Emily Loper
I am waiting. On a lot of things, it seems. And waiting can be really hard, particularly when it does not end when or how I had hoped.
Recently, I got a very clear "no" on something I'd been waiting on and praying about for a long time. It was easy to pray for God's will months ago, but once I realized His will didn't look exactly like what I wanted it to, things got a little trickier. Just when I thought my waiting was coming to an end, I had to face the facts that more was headed my way.
While meeting with my community group on Monday night, we went around the circle sharing our updates from the week and how God had been speaking to us, like we do every week. Suddenly, it hit me. We're all waiting! Whether it's job stuff, relationship stuff, school stuff, family stuff, future stuff, or on and on the list could go, each of us in that circle has something (or some things) in our life that we are just plain waiting on. It may span a broad spectrum, but the core is ultimately the same. And suddenly, I felt a weight lifted.
My favorite C.S. Lewis quote says, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" With this quote, I think Lewis paints a pretty great picture of how community can/should be oftentimes. One of Satan's favorite tools when trying to destroy us is attempting to make us feel as isolated as possible. As if you are the only one who could ever possibly understand what you're going through, whatever it is.
Many times, when I hear the word encouragement, I envision people saying things like, "You can do it!" and "I'm praying for you." But that Monday night, I was reminded of the encouragement found in going through life with people who genuinely understand what you're going through. If I have to go through hard times (which I do; Luke 9:23 kind of promises this), then I'm glad I have women by my side fighting similar battles. The key is recognizing that healing and freedom begin with confession (James 5:16). In other words, being an open book with your community leads to those moments when you realize you're not so alone after all. From there, the trials you're facing somehow seem less daunting.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says that "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up." What a great encouragement to know that when I fall, I have six wonderful friends ready to help me back up and remind me that I'm not alone.
Are you connected in community? If not, what are you waiting for?