Today at “House 244” (the CMS community house we are living in here in Oxford) we gathered as a community to share prayer needs and pray for one another. There were about 7 of us there and we each shared what is going on in our lives at the moment, some of the challenges as well as blessings. It was a really special time of prayer. It made me think how important it is for us to have other people to share our journey of faith with. It made me appreciate this season more as well, and the privilege to have a community around us as a family.
It can be really hard sometimes to go through stuff on our own. When I was 17 years old, having moved to the UK, I found myself all alone in big scary London. I attended English classes and worked in central London. Nothing glamorous… I cleared tables at a busy Italian restaurant in Covent Garden and coveted the food leftover in people’s plates. Money was so tight that after I had paid for my weekly rent and bus pass there was very little left (£8.50 to be exact). Sometimes I had to steal potatoes from work as I could not afford dinner.
After eating my microwaved potato with vast amounts of margarine, I would often retreat to my tiny room above a funeral company’s morgue. Quite often I would cry myself to sleep, as cried out to God for hope. In my poverty and loneliness, I was so aware of God being there. However, I did miss having people to journey with. I missed having people to talk to, people who could pray for me. Those were very lonely times.
You know, God is always with us but we also need people to do life with… people with whom we share deeply. People who are allowed into the more vulnerable areas of our lives.
In Luke 24 we read about two disciples who are walking away from Jerusalem. Away from the epicentre of the shocking events that led to the death of Jesus. They were puzzled and bewildered. However, they were together. Here is an extract of that passage:
“13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognising him.”
As they talked to one another. As they shared deeply about their failed hopes and fears, Jesus himself joined them on the road to Emmaus. He walks with them. He talks to them. He makes things clearer. He explains what is going on. He is present in their painful journey. Likewise, as we journey with others and share deeply with them, Jesus will often come and walk along with us.
Today, I was reminded of the importance of having people with whom we can journey. Because when we do so, when we intentionally share about our faith, struggles and blessings, Jesus joins us on the journey.
Who are you journeying with at the moment? You may have many friends and people in your life, but my question is specifically about your faith journey. Who are the people of faith with whom you can deeply share with? If you do not have anyone at the moment maybe you should consider asking someone to be your companion. It will really help. In my own journey I have had people who have walked and still walk with me, even in the most painful moments. Plus, something powerful happens when we journey together with other believers: Jesus is present, even though we may not recognise it straight away!
As Christians we also have a responsibility to walk with those who are lonely. There are many people in your life who are probably really struggling and could so with a friend to journey with. Today I felt challenged to intentionally seek people to journey with, as well as challenged to be aware of those who are lonely.
“Lord Jesus, I thank you that you are always with us. Please, help us to be good companions. To allow people to journey with us and to intentionally choose to journey with those who are lonely. Please help us to recognise your presence with us, even in the most painful moments. Amen.”