Stories of Grace: I Need Community
Stories of Grace | by Sarah Ruiz
The Stories of Grace series is intended to capture snapshots of God’s grace and glory amidst our every day lives. They are real stories of real people who have seen the fingerprints of God amidst the ordinary—God’s favorite canvas. Each story is personal, unique and, often, unfinished. Through it all we get glimpses of God’s steadfast love, sufficient grace, and ongoing presence with his people.
Arms raised, my offering held high.
“Lord, do with our son what you would like.”
Shortly after my husband and I found out we were pregnant, this image came to my mind. My heart embodied the distinct ‘Lion King’ pose at Pride Rock, dedicating our efforts and energy in shepherding our child to the Lord. We would love this child fiercely and hold this child loosely; his life would be used by the One who authored it before the foundations of the earth. We knew we couldn’t do this alone.
But, we had our tribe; our people who embrace us, messy and flawed, tired and aloof.
And that first Tuesday night back with our community, I saw it.
My arms were raised, offering my son to the first person that would hold him. Glad to share my gift, glad for the help. Glad to be reminded that I cannot do this alone.
On my own, I am easily distracted and, on occasion, overcome by worry. But, you see, even after Jesus had come, His people had found themselves in similar states of fear, confusion and isolation. Paul reminds the community of Thessalonians to lean on one another: encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.
They could not do it alone either.
We are quick to believe we can do it alone. Quick to rely on our own thinking, our own rules; mistaking ourselves for lord of our lives. Without a doubt, living life in community is broken. But the beauty of life in community points to the beauty of Him who created it. Jesus left perfect community in heaven to establish community with rebel sinners. He knew their need for Him. He knew perfect community could only exist through Him.
But, we are imperfect. We will fumble often and fail each other. However, our community is not sustained by our efforts. And so we raise our arms to the Sustainer urging, “Lord, do with our community what you would like.” Because, as Paul later rejoices: He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.
– Sarah Ruiz