I was listening to a podcast yesterday wherein the guy speaking was encouraging his audience (a group of students about to go out in teams for a few months of missions work) to be family to each other. He admonished them not to worry if these few months would be their only time together, but to live like family regardless of how long or short they had as a family.
This was timely for me to hear since I’ve been thinking a lot about Home and connection.
After struggling for several months with how to dive into community here, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to stop worrying about it. I don’t mean I won’t make friends. I have made friends here and I regularly run into more people that I would love to get to know better.
I think what I was really worrying about was capacity. How many people am I actually able to be a friend to? Behind that question was the fear of disappointing others.
Right here and now I’m going to publicly confess that fear, and let it go….
One thing I am constantly saying to God when we talk is, “I belong to You.” I say it to remind myself of this truth and to see my life from that perspective. Because I belong to God (and He is GOOD! and He LOVES me!) I can be with people or be alone at any given moment and He will sustain me either way, wherever I am in the world. He is where I belong.
A few weeks ago we were having communion with the CDTS students. Most were sat around a long table. Those closest to the bread and wine (juice) did the breaking and dispersing. I was the last person at my end to be handed these elements. The piece of bread that ended up in my hand was obscenely big for communion purposes. Because I don’t eat bread anymore, I always have this initial check in my mind about eating communion … then I realize what we’re doing and I proceed. But the check that came this time was that it was such a large hunk of bread. My first thought was that I didn’t want to be greedy at the Lord’s table. I considered breaking off a small piece and giving the rest back to be placed on the platter. Just as I had that thought, though, I felt like God was nudging me to keep it and eat all of it.
I laughed inside and shrugged. And then ate. It took me three real bites to eat the whole chunk. If you’ve never taken communion, I’ll just tell you that you normally get a TINY wafer that basically melts on your tongue before you can swallow it and if you do get real bread, it’s usually just enough to pinch between your thumb and forefinger. So it was pretty humorous to me to be eating (chew, chew, chew, swallow). At the same time, as I took the third bite (chew, chew, chew, swallow) I felt like God was saying to me, “I will satisfy you.”
There are so many things connected to this idea of being Satisfied. I have laid many things at God’s feet. Some of those things I want to get rid of, some are hopes yet to be fulfilled; some are big, and some are small. Some concern physical provision and some emotional.
As I think about and live out this gift of friendship and community, I see that God means those words for this area, too. On days when I feel lonely and no one is available, He is here in a way that allows me to be calm and grateful. On days when there are more people than I may have energy for, He is here in a way that gives me more love than I thought I had available to give.
When I was much younger, I wrote this poem about having strong feelings for someone and being so terribly impatient to know if they were reciprocated. One part says,
I want your quick response to hit me as it should
the moment that it hits.
I want the moments,
made here like photos,
to eat in great big bites
like five red grapes
in the bowl of your intentions,
in attractive and tasty dimensions;
but never with waiting,
never without holding my breath
while you ponder your declarations.
I know that God will do what He has already promised. Those three big bites of bread make me realize that I’m not anxious to see proof of His goodness because I already believe Him. I am not holding my breath for His declarations because He has given them- and keeps giving them. I don’t have to wait to be loved because He has loved me long before I knew I needed Him.
These ideas of community, home, and knowing God’s love may not seem connected, but I am coming to discover that this is the essential big picture. Life is full of change and disappointment, heartache and loss, but God’s love never changes. His love never wears out or gets bored, never loses intensity or gives up. His love created the universe and sustains precious individual people on any given day of the year. And it really, for real satisfies.