As I stood at the terminal gate watching person after person board the plane that I was hoping to fly on, I knew that my chances for using the standby ticket in my hand were slim to none. That flight was no different than the flight before it, there was simply no room! Would I get back in time for my college classes the next morning in Florida? Would I be able to find a ride if my flight arrived in the middle of the night?
As I watched the flight depart, I resolved that God must be up to something and so I settled into my seat and let my thoughts drift to a firm desire I had to spend my study abroad in the country of Bolivia. Though everyone thought I was crazy for picking a random country with no contacts or clear plans for how it would play out, I was firm in my commitment to pursue this path. Somehow, and in some way, I knew in my heart that I was going to go to Bolivia, and I had peace that God was working somehow to open a door for me to go there. I just knew it!
While I waited for the next potential flight to begin boarding, a casual conversation began with some people near me. The couple had been rerouted to Minneapolis from Michigan due to a flight change from bad weather. As we began talking, they quietly explained that they were flying home from the funeral of their son. As I listened and shared any words of encouragement that came to my mind, my jaw practically dropped open when they began sharing about how their son, a police officer killed in the line of duty, had met his bride while serving as a missionary in Bolivia.
They went on to share stories and details about the mission work that their best friends had led for years. They recalled memories of their son and these missionaries with great fondness. Humility washed over me as I began to realize how incredible the circumstances were that had brought us together. We prayed together and marveled at how God alone could connect people through such painful circumstances and yet somehow bring glory to His perfect plan.
Just a few months later, I took a flight to Cochabamba, Bolivia, where I spent three months serving as a missionary and completing my study abroad coursework. The circumstances that got me to Bolivia did not prepare me for the challenges of serving impoverished children and their mothers in prison, but they did teach me that my Father in Heaven is sovereign and works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
The lesson I learned through that experience was that God can do the impossible! It impacted me greatly as a young woman and I figured I would remember it forever. As believers, we know that we have a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) that bear testimony to God working in impossible situations.
Yet, facing our own circumstances of the “impossible” as we journey on with the Lord, we can sometimes feel weak in our faith and prone to lose heart or settle into thoughts of despair at times. Even when we have seen God working in amazing ways in the past, we still need to be reminded of this truth year by year as we follow Him. Our family recently faced some circumstances that caused me to wrestle with this lesson in a deeper way.
At a recent LifeGroup gathering, the night began with someone sharing a praise report of how a youth had come to faith in Jesus based on a testimony that someone in our own group had shared a few years ago. The testimony was based on a very difficult trial that they had faced, and how God had been faithful in the midst of it. As everyone rejoiced upon hearing the testimony, we all marveled at how God’s timing was perfect! There was no other explanation. Others in the group began sharing stories of how God was working in their lives and how His timing was just perfect. No other explanation, only God could have done it!
We went on that night to study Romans 16 and studied the love and care that Paul expressed for the various church leaders and laborers in the Gospel. I looked around the room at the dear brothers and sisters in the Lord and instantly my faith was strengthened to believe again that God is perfect in His timing! His faithfulness is near to us in our trials and His plan for us is good. At all times and in all ways.
That night as we shared the challenges we were facing, our LifeGroup prayed for us, encouraged us and shared with us the heart that Paul shared for his fellow Gospel laborers in his letter to the Roman church. I fell asleep that night feeling confident that God could work in our seemingly impossible situation and thanking God for the love we felt from our brothers and sisters in Christ.
This past year has brought many challenges for people all across the globe. There are several people in the Friendship Church family that are facing impossible situations today. Whether health related, financial or relational, they are all important to our Father in Heaven and we can be sure that He is working on our behalf, even when we don’t realize it. My prayer for you is that you would have faith to see Him working and faith to believe His promises in the Scriptures regardless of what you are facing.
As I pray for our church, I often pray that more LifeGroups would be formed. These small gatherings of members of our Body provide the opportunity for care, compassion, needs to be met and prayer to take place. Most importantly, they are the perfect greenhouse for faith to grow as we encourage one another as the Day draws near for Christ to return.
Are you in a LifeGroup ? Would you prayerfully consider hosting or facilitating one? If the Lord is stirring in your heart a desire to join a group or to potentially lead a group, don’t hesitate to reach out to the church office so that we can pray with you and help you get connected!
We’re in this together, running the race of faith, arm-in-arm, reminding each other of God’s amazing ability to transform hearts, turn around lives and change impossible situations. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20)