2003-05-08 - Welcome Back!
Heb 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near. (NAS)
My 15-year old son took his first steps back into the karate school this week after an absence of a few months. I had asked him to come and help with classes since we would be very short handed that day. He had pushed very very hard to get to his Black Belt and basically burned out on the sport in the process. Even after he was feeling a lot better he was still hesitant to go back. I could understand. He was concerned what people would think of his sudden departure, especially after such a superior effort.
The senior instructor for the day was the first one over to greet him. Chris was welcomed back warmly with a big high-five and a slap on back. That was followed by a series of people all greeting him, all glad to see him back. I have come home every week with at least one person asking when my son would be back. A number of those people were there and made their feelings known.
This has a very real, very personal application. Some of us have real reasons to be afraid of going back to the assembly. Some have been wrong and others have been wronged. The reasons are varied in their severity, reality and level of pain. No matter what it was, I have to believe someone misses you.
Some of us know someone who has disappeared suddenly. I urge you to call them, write or send email. Do it soon. The longer the delay the longer the whispers of the enemy echo in their ears. If nobody tries to find them they must surely not be missed is the thought that runs through their mind even though nothing could be further from the truth.
If you are sure you can't go back then consider this. God is in control. He holds every piece of the puzzle and knows exactly where they fit, and when. A sculpter uses a chistle to chip away pieces of stone to reveal the vision in his mind. Some pieces of stone that were connected from the time they were created are no longer connected when the artist is finished. The finished work is a thing of beauty. What appear to be disconnections are simply part of the creative process. God may simply be moving you to someplace new. Find a new place to connect, learn and be encouraged in your faith.
Some people are very strong individuals. But very very few of are so independent that they can survive every wound or bruise. Left untreated even a wound that heals will leave a scar if it does not become infected and become worse. Even the most courageous person is afraid of something. We are called to be salt and light in this world. We are called to love others. If we can not care for the Body of Christ with forgiveness and grace then I ask how we can care for a lost and dying world beyond that.
1 Cor 12:20-22 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. (NKJV)
Grace & Peace,