A Community of Grace for the Journey

As I sit outside on this cool summer evening overlooking the beautiful greenery in our backyard, I see the beauty of God’s creation, and I’m reminded of God’s many blessings. Many times, I find it much easier to reflect on troubles and the things I wish were different or the things that “were not supposed to be this way” instead of reflecting back on God’s goodness. My husband reminds me that God’s way is perfect and that He is completely sovereign and good in my life. He’s right!

Well, I’ve spent a lot of time considering how my trials could be good for me or those around me.  What is “the good” that God is doing in my life?

  • Maybe it’s to give me more compassion for those around me or an opportunity to share with others the comfort that God gives to me.
  • Maybe it’s to give me a better understanding of others whom I might previously have looked down on only to build myself up.
  • Maybe it’s to make me less self-sufficient and more dependent on God.
  • Maybe it’s for the purpose of learning that I’m not in control and I was never meant to be.
  • to teach me that my joy was never meant to be found in the creation, but rather in the Creator.
  • Maybe it’s to build faith and persevering steadfastness in my life. Maybe it’s to silence the fears in my life and help me to be still and know that He is God.
  • Maybe it’s to remind me that this world is not my final home and to help me long for Heaven.
  • Maybe it’s so that God can be glorified. I’m pretty sure it’s all of this and more. Some of my prayers in recent years have been: Lord, help me not to be afraid of what is fearful; Lord, help me to long for Heaven; Please help me to be still and know that You are God; Please strengthen my faith and help me to rest in You. I have to say, God hears my prayers, He answers them and He is faithful!

Through all of these “maybes” is a faithful God who will “surely” bring about His glory and my good.  (Romans 8:28). Our faithful, holy God has been the “lifter up of my head” on too many occasions to count. He reminds me of His love and His presence through many things like reading His Word, prayer, preaching, singing, and through the love of His people. Over the years, the body of Christ has been a balm, a comfort, and an extension of the loving heart and hand of God. Many times, a phone call, a text, or a meal has reminded me that God is alive and well and very much “on the job” in my life. One of the greatest blessings to me at GRC has been the ladies’ Bible study. I have found close connections there with ladies who are truly seeking God and growing together in Him. I am especially thankful for our small group prayer times at the end of the study each week when we share the burdens of our hearts and pray for each other. God tells us to bear one another’s burdens, to weep with those who weep, and to rejoice with those who rejoice. I have found ladies’ Bible study to be a great vehicle for this to happen. Stating the obvious…if we don’t know what one another’s burdens are, how can we bear them together? We need each other. We need to be willing to reach out to the one who is struggling. Maybe it involves being flexible or being inconvenienced or taking a late-night phone call, sending a text, or praying over the phone. Jesus left the 99 to go after the one whom He knew needed Him most. I pray that I won’t miss or reject those God-appointments. I pray that people are not suffering alone because the aloneness factor only magnifies the pain of the trial. Don’t we all feel alone at times in our particular struggles? Don’t we feel like we’re the only ones that deal with (insert your situation here)?

God has called us to love Him with all of our hearts, minds, and souls and to love others as ourselves. May we be a church known by our love for God and others.

Ginny Stephens headhsot

Ginny Stephens is the wife of the Director of Worship Arts, Adjunct Professor of Collaborative Piano at Montclair State University, and the mother of three girls.