"I'm not there...I'm here!"
I've said that to a few people these last few days. My son lives in Orlando, and we have really been trying to see each other as much as we can. Yesterday, he asked when I was coming home (I'm in Michigan) because he was going to be coming through Lake Wales. Unfortunately, we will miss each other this time. But I have to tell you...it feels good to WANT to see him.
There was a time a few years ago where it wasn't always that way. Our relationship was strained, and now God is repairing it. Now, we don't tolerate each other or force ourselves to check in with the other. Now, we don't meet up because we HAVE to; we do it because we GET to. I'm thankful that God has healed us both. He is working in both of us - making each of us into different men. He has pointed out areas where we needed to change and this has made us see the importance of being together.
I'm reading a book right now that is teaching me about this called Until Unity (by Francis Chan). It's a great book - I recommend it. If more believers spent more time thinking about other believers and how we need to live with unity, the world might be a better place... because the Church would definitely be a better place. One of the things I read today stopped me from going further - I decided to camp out for a few minutes on this one phrase:
"We worship a God who desires unity with His children and between His children."
If you're like me, that sentence made you think about all the times and people that you have come across that you maybe looked at the wrong way. Just in case you feel like you're the only one, Paul had a time where he had to work on that. Paul (yes, the apostle Paul) had a time where he got mad at Mark, because Mark deserted him (see Acts 15:37-39). But God worked on Paul and then directed Paul to work on his relationship with Mark. As he neared the end of his life, he let Timothy know how important Mark was:
"Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry." (2 Timothy 4:11)
We don't know how or when it happened, but something did happen between Paul and Mark. And I guess if there's one thing we all need to do before we end our time "down here", it's this. When you find yourself around other people, they may disappoint or hurt or wrong you. But when they do, make sure you allow the Lord to examine your own heart and see what role you may have played in this. And if there is something He directs you to do to change that, don't do anything else until you do that. So, as you pray this week, here are a few things to remember and thank God for.
We need each other in the Body. Nobody is perfect, but we should be letting God make us that way. If you're divided or separated or distant or hurt, ask God to heal that and see if there is a way to renew that relationship with the person that contributed to that. And if He tells you to make it right, do it as soon as you possibly can.