For the first two years after moving to Canada from Chicago we were involved in the kind of church that you only come across once or twice in your life. It was small but very intimate. Most of the couples were young with young kids or about to have kids. Nearly everyone was passionate about loving the Lord and studying the Word and discipling those around them. The women’s group was amazing, the kind of group where you could share anything and find love and support and prayer and the men were almost as close. I have never seen a church with young guys studying and teaching each other the way these guys did.
Then things happened. Big things. Hard things, and then everything began to change really quickly. A lot of people left over the next year or two. We waited about a year and left as well. Although we deeply love those who stayed it just wasn’t the same church we had chosen anymore and we had to accept that and move on.
Many times as my dear girlfriends and I talk about it we mourn the loss of what we had there. It was a once-in-a-lifetime environment. We have tried to find something like it. Some of us locally and others further away in the cities they moved to. We have all found new places we enjoy but nothing even close to what we had.
We were chatting a bit about it last weekend at the Beth Moore Simulcast and one of my friends observed that she thinks what we had was not normal. It was a really special and we probably won’t find something like it again this side of eternity.
Because my friend is very wise her words stuck with me. A few days later I was washing dishes and her words and everything was on my mind and then something dawned on me. What we had was very unusual, and very special and maybe God gave us that BECAUSE he knew that these extremely hard times were coming. Maybe he gave us those deep moments and friendships and times of intense study so that we would have something to hold onto when the storm hit. (and it wasn’t just a tropical storm, it was a Super Tsunami)
I know that certain studies we went through, certain conversations we had, (even an argument I had which when we talked it through led to one of the dearest friendships I think I will ever know) have come back when times were so dark. Things those dear people said or times we cried together.
And so I finally concluded. I don’t need to mourn it anymore, I don’t need to search for what we had because what we had was special and it was a gift to prepare us for what lay ahead. Looking back on everything I thought that was really neat. We serve a God who not only helps us through the darkest times, but prepares us for years ahead of time and often blesses us so thoroughly during those times not so that we will be in even more pain when he takes those things away but so that we will have those things to hold onto as a tiny taste of what it will be like in eternity.