By Becca Christensen
Jesus had twelve disciples. This isn’t exactly a secret, even amongst non-believers. Recently I really thought about that though. Twelve. His twelve go-to guys. Why is it Jesus, the Son of God, had a small army but we often try to do the Christian walk alone?
This year I invited several women to read through the Bible in a year with me and meet once a month. Once we built our core group, a few other people popped up who were doing the same thing, so we invited them too. Reading through the bible in a year is a journey and being on it together seemed necessary for each of us to get to the finish line.
One of the benefits to living in community is having people to encourage me. One of my fellow group members recently said, ‘Becca told me when her sister was having emergency surgery, that the Lord made her and loves her more than she ever could – so why wouldn’t she trust Him?’ Wait, I did? I didn’t remember sharing that. Hearing it repeated back to another member of the group did my soul an incredible amount of good though. I couldn’t have known how soon I would be reminded of those words…
In our January meeting we talked about unwavering faith. We had read the story of Abraham being willing to sacrifice Isaac when the Lord instructed him in Genesis 22. I asked the group if they ever wonder what could or would shake their faith. I confessed that I worry and work at my faith for the big things because I WANT to have the kind of faith that trusts when it’s hard.
Less than a week later, I would find myself in a doctor’s office being told I need testing. I had come to the doctor for a routine physical and as the doctor felt my neck, she had some concerns. She wrote scripts for lab tests and ultrasounds and I took them and left the office. I fished my phone from my purse as I sat down in the car and I texted two of the girls from my bible study. I asked for prayer but I stated: I am at peace.
A few hours later my sweet friend texted me back and said: you were just talking about strengthening your faith so that it could stand up when tested. Well your faith just got tested and if your texts are any indication: your faith hasn’t been shaken. I just wanted to point that out.
Immediately, I stopped to appreciate that. The very thing I had prayed and worked towards I almost missed. That my trust in the Lord is growing. That my peace is present not just on the good, easy days but when it’s tested too. In a situation that would often times bring anxiety, I believed that my maker was in ultimate control. I needed my friend to remember for me and to point out for me that growth.
Galatians 6:2 says, ‘Share each other’s burdens, in this way obey the law of Christ’. Through this group, I’m learning to share my burdens. Where I once took on others but never let anyone help carry mine; I am growing through living in this community. When I’m transparent, my group can remind me of where I’ve been and what I’ve said.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says this: ‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching’. Let’s do this! Spur each other on. Meet together. Encourage each other.
Tribe has become a trendy little word for graphic tees and friend circles alike. I think Jesus and the disciples were a little tribe. This year, I’m building my own. How have you learned to share your burdens and give the gift of encouragement to your people?