“When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” —Matthew 18:19–20 msg
We live in a time in which our society is becoming more and more disjointed and divided. Rather than celebrating what we have in common, it seems as if we’d rather emphasize the things that separate us. You hear strong, strident political and social views on one cable channel, then turn to the next one and hear the exact opposite take on the very same event. In fact, I don’t know of a time (at least in my brief life) when our culture has been more divided, perhaps with the exception of the tumultuous 1960s.
Families are falling apart like never before, and the result is that people are looking for a place where they can belong, a community where they can feel safe, a family they can belong to, a place where they can genuinely love and be loved in return. This is exactly what the church is; it is a warm refuge in a cold, impersonal, and often hostile world. I know the church isn’t perfect. The church is made up of imperfect people, but foibles and all, it is the only organization that Jesus Christ Himself ever established. And after 2,000 years, it’s still going strong.The Roman emperor Diocletian once set up a stone pillar as a monument, boasting that he had exterminated the word “Christian” from the earth. That was his aim and, needless to say, he failed miserably in his endeavor. Any attempt that has ever been undertaken to eradicate the church that Jesus established and maintains, has met with utter failure. Jesus said of His church, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). He is with His church, and it is still going strong!
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.