I will never forget a couple that attended Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago for five years. They almost never missed a week. They would walk in, hear the message and the music, and walk back out.
Week after week, in and out, they never met anybody. They never established any friendships. They never got involved in ministry. They never joined. They never built a network of support.
After about five years, they went through one of those horrendous, gut wrenching, devastating crises that shattered their world; the kind that knocks you against the wall and leaves you gasping for breath just trying to hold on.
The real tragedy was, there was nobody there to help them. They had never taken the time to get to know anyone. They had never built any relationships. They had never been there for anybody else in a crisis, and nobody was there for their crisis. That's sad because it's completely unnecessary.
They could have taken the time before the storm to establish a few key relationships that would have been there to strengthen them when they were going through tough times. So, what do you do when you're going through one of those horrendous, gut wrenching, devastating crises that shatters your world? Drop your pride and accept help from others.
Accepting Help From Others
The temptation, when you are stressed out and at the breaking point, is to hide, hibernate, crawl into a hole or build a wall around yourself. You are stressed out and only want to isolate yourself from everyone. That's a big mistake. A very big mistake.
When you're at your breaking point, you need people who will give you support and strength.
When you are at your breaking point, when you are stressed to the limit, you need people in your life. You need people who will give you support, strength, and most of all perspective. When you're stressed, you do not think straight. You are not able to see the whole picture, just a limited perspective. You need someone that can help you see the broader view. You need people when you are at the breaking point.
The Importance of Belonging
This is why it is important to be a part of the church family. Some people consistently attend but never join the church family, never get involved in ministry or develop friendships or relationships. You need to build friendships with some godly Christians who know something about the Bible and can pray for you when you cannot. Have you ever been in so much pain you could not pray? Sure. Have you ever been so depressed you could not pray? Probably. When you are in these situations, you need some friends who can pray for you.
When you cannot believe God because you are so devastated, you need somebody to believe God for you, somebody to have faith when you have no faith, somebody to have confidence when you're full of doubt. You need somebody who will stand up beside you, walk alongside of you, and help you carry on.
A genuine Christian friend walks in when everybody else walks out. When you are under stress and you're at the breaking point, who's going to walk with you? Can you name me four or five people that you can count on, friends that will give you good, godly, strong advice?
A genuine Christian friend walks in when everybody else walks out.
A Little Pastorly Advice
My advice: set up those kind of relationships before the crisis! It is a little too late to wait until the storms and hurricane winds come into your life and messes you all up to get into a small group and develop some close friendships that you can count on.
One day, you are going to hit the wall. Count on it. In fact, you are going to hit the wall many times. You better have some people around you that you can count on or you will just spin out of control and go off the deep end.
Galatians 6:2 says: z'By helping each other with your troubles, you obey the law of Christ."
What is the law of Christ? It is called The Great Commandment. "Love your neighbor as yourself." When you love your neighbor as yourself, when you're helping each other with your troubles, you are obeying the Great Commandment – Christ's commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says: "Encourage each other and give each other strength."
The Power of an Encouraging Word
Never underestimate the power of an encouraging word. The Bible says that we are to encourage each other and give each other strength. Sometimes a little phrase, a little word, can be a hingepoint, a turning point that's the salvation of that person's life.
Never underestimate the power of just a little word of encouragement. You may need to go make a phone call this afternoon, or send a text, or write a little note. It does not have to be long—just a note of care, a note of encouragement because we all will need to accept help from others at some point.
The Rev. Clarence E. Stowers Jr. succeeded his father, Dr. Clarence Stowers Sr., as the pastor of the historic Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago in 1999. Mars Hill has experienced phenomenal ministry growth under his visionary pastoral leadership since then. Follow Rev. Stowers' blog, The Urban Pastor or check out Mars Hill's website.
For the original article, visit cestowers.com.
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