You could feel a dark cloud hanging heavy over the room as the young woman with the long, brown hair began to share her heartbreak.
She cried as she spoke of the pressures of her husband’s job and how she was now second-guessing their decision to move to a new city away from the comfort of the community they had known.
Another woman told her story of having to be apart from her husband for 22 months when he was forced to take a job in another part of the state. At the time, she had just found out she was pregnant and had to remain in her job for the insurance benefits. He missed the birth of their first child as a result.
Around that circle of strangers, tears flowed. And so did words like bitterness and anger, with heads nodding in empathetic agreement. Because we all know that life is hard, and there is no shame in admitting that. Jesus himself is described by the prophet Isaiah as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Isa. 53:3)
But we also acknowledged that our faith is in God and not circumstances. That there is still hope, even when life doesn’t turn out the way we hoped it would.
So we prayed. And as we bowed our heads and carried each others burdens to the cross, it reminded me of how important it is for us to gather together and share our journey with other believers. We need that connection and encouragement.
Because it’s easier to hold on to hope when we hold on to each other.
And when I looked up, the world seemed new. All those smiling faces in a circle of light, shining like the sun on a cloudless summer day.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:23-25