The last two weeks have really been a joy. It was great to get home and reconnect with family and finding out I’m going to be grandpa around Thanksgiving time next year. Sara and I also got to take a two-day trip up the California coast to visit some old friends. Aren’t old friends the best? Even though we’d not seen this couple for a long time, we had walked together through some pretty painful places and held on to God together. Relationships centered in Jesus never fade with time. You can get back together even after months or years and pick up the conversation as if no time had ever passed. That’s not true of all relationships, however. Those that remain unreconciled through past hurts or manipulation stay damaged just as long. I’ve still got some like that I pray God heals in time.
Then it was back to Oxnard where we had guests from Colorado, people I’ve only recently met. But what a joy to share new-found relationships as well. We were only together 24 hours but talked almost nonstop through that time. We talked a lot about what is coming to be known as ‘simple church’ and how easy it is for us to be captured by names and models, and miss out on living dependent upon Jesus.
Then over the weekend I was with a group of believers that live in the Las Vegas area. This was the third time I’d crossed paths with them in the last year. They are on a marvelous journey moving from institutional mindsets of the body of Christ, to learning to live freely as God’s people together. That transition is never easy. We’ve been schooled to think so religiously about ‘gatherings’ of the body, that they often seem forced and artificial. Learning how to let them be organic again and still be filled with the life of Jesus can be disorienting.
One of the things Jesus shared with us when we were together is never to think that the middle of a chapter is the end of the story. We tend to do that. So many people lose their bearings in times of transition and run back to the false security of what is familiar, instead of following on past their insecurities into a new spacious place of the Lord’s working. Times of transition can be painful and we often don’t see the fruit of it right away. If we can remember that we’re in a process and that God’s fruit will take time to mature, we will be able to relax more easily and see God’s work through to its end.
That’s probably a good lesson for all of us.