A Special Night of Hope from “The Small Group on the Hill”

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Life is funny.

Those curve balls have some serious action on ’em sometimes.

You may have practiced for that spin your whole life.

You figure you’ll miss judge a few, but you fully believe that in this ONE place in life? You have the right stuff — EASY.

So you can grow up involved with youth choir, church camp, Bible bowl.  You can go to Christian college, attend studies and workshops, serve in various ministries.

But somehow, you can still find yourself sitting nervously in a sunday school class, hoping someone will talk to you.

You can still find yourself unsure how or where to fit in, waiting and wondering if someone will reply to your calls, emails, or texts.

You can stare blankly at your church’s grouplink page, and as your mouse slowly passes over each description, haunting reminders of your past can flash before you… the day you agreed you could skip church, the day you stopped serving, the day you gave in and gave up.

You can try to block memories of  being on the flip side, and how easy it was to nod in agreement to comments about unimpressed visitors. “They were just looking for an excuse, that’s all.”   “If you look for an excuse, you will find one – pure and simple.”

People can look for excuses, sure; but when you see things from a new perspective, when you walk in those shoes, that empathy is a gift.  It changes you. You are willing to understand, listen, and give back in new ways.

  • You see that your choices brought you here, but more importantly, you realize you had to endure all the pain for the blinders to drop.
  • You see people are just busy with their own lives, they are doing the best they can.
    They have no clue what you are going through.
  • They can’t reach inside you and understand. You can’t take it personally.
  • You have to be willing to keep trying; you have to trust God, stay strong, keep the faith.
  • You have to keep believing in God’s plan, and when you do, there is ALWAYS a rainbow waiting.

While you wait, you can either use that time wisely and see it as a gift, or waste it.
It’s your choice.

Sometimes I REALLY struggle with the waiting, but now I have this covered.

When I open my Bible now, Jame 1:2-3 has a HUGE pink and green neon sign blinking over it.
(It really does… I can show you.)

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”  James 1: 2-3

The pain, the suffering, it can blow you in one direction or the other, it can make you more cynical, more cold, less willing to try, or it can make you grow, make you more compassionate, more understanding and loving to your fellow-man.  You get to choose.

A few days ago Rick Warren (who tragically lost his son to suicide just last month) tweeted this note:

“Pain changes you. Like a gale force wind, it drives you backward or forward, depending on how you set your sail.”

As for me, there’s no question which way my sail is set. Aside from all the ways I’ve grown, I realize how much more I appreciate the little things. What I used to take for granted means everything – it’s a beautiful gift.

That grouplink click was a gift that keeps on giving. The leaders welcomed me as if I had known them all my life.  I felt the spirit of the good Samaritan upon me before I ever laid eyes on the hostess, and when I showed up that first night, I knew my impression had been right on the mark.  They were Christians in the true gospel sense of the word.  Salt of the earth — humble, gracious and with fruits of the spirit abounding.  Everyone showed me kindness and friendship in spades, and made me feel..  instantly at home.

Often, we never hear about the impact we have on others. I want these good people to know – the kindness they showed me came at a time when I needed it the most, and I will never forget.  As one result, that experience will compel me to share that hope with someone else.

As I drove down the long driveway that night, I looked back. Lights were streaming down, framing their home against a backdrop of stars; it’s a picture that symbolizes something bigger, more meaningful than just the beautiful scene I filed away. I thought, how fitting they should live on this little hill; it was a perfect metaphor for the light shining from their hearts.

As the Matthew 5:14 verse came to mind, I knew I had not been drawn to them by accident; it was by design.

Lord, thank you for the each of the wonderful members of “The Small Group on the Hill.”
Thank you for bringing us together and for all the amazing things you are doing through their service.