Staying Connected with Other Believers
Anyone who has been around church for a while has likely heard this familiar passage: “Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but let us exhort one another, especially as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25 MEV).
Often, these words of wisdom are delivered in a manner designed to inflict guilt on those who aren’t attending more often.
However, with once-a-month drop-ins becoming more frequent these days in American church life, I doubt they often hit their intended target.
Still, a recent email from an old friend on the other side of the country reminded me of the value of staying in touch with other believers for mutual encouragement and insights.
This woman had once been the assistant editor of a publication whose assignments helped launch my freelance career.
On a book-related trip to Anaheim long ago, I took time my last full day in California to drive to a San Diego suburb to finally meet her in person and enjoy dinner with her and her husband.
We had reconnected last fall after I sent her a note, hoping the address I had was still good. Yet, after a quick email exchange, we again lost touch.
One day, while doing a quick glance through my email folders, I realized I had never told her about the accident last November that left me with a concussion.
Quickly, I copied the link to the blog I wrote that explained the accident and why I wound up being grateful for it.
A few days later, she responded with a note that began, “It’s amazing how we were on such parallel paths at nearly the same time.”
She went on to recall getting up for a pre-dawn prayer time in mid-October and donning a pair of brand new slipper socks “for traction.”
On her way downstairs to get some coffee, she slid on the first step and fell down the stairs, breaking her left ankle and right knee.
With both legs immobilized, she had to wear a non-weight bearing cast on one and an immobilizer on the other. Recovery took several months.
“This was also at a time of spiritual crisis, so the Lord used every minute of me being bed-ridden and utterly helpless, confined in a dark, spare bedroom downstairs, to get a LOT of deep things into alignment with Him,” she said.
She recalled how that meant facing “tons” of revelations—some good, some bad, and some ugly. Plus, facing His truth about some things she hadn’t even known were there.
“I could write a book about all the life-changing lessons and revelations from this and how my life has changed, so am seeking Him for strategies and creative ways to put it all together for His use,” she added.
“Thanks so much for letting me know your situation—and for the blog! It was great and will encourage many.”
One More Thing
The next day, she forwarded an email from a well-known former pastor and prayer leader. Although I had various pieces about him and his ministry in the past, for whatever reason I had lost touch with him.
This email provided an update about his son, who had suffered a broken neck six weeks earlier.
I hadn’t known about it. But the email proved encouraging because of this comment from his son: “Thank you all for helping me walk this journey (and) for loving me while I’m weak and cranky (and) helping me mend while I’m broken. . . . I feel loved.”
In a nutshell, that’s what “assembling together” is all about. Helping each other traverse this sometimes-difficult path called life.