What comes to mind when you hear the word 'Church'?
What does it mean to say "I'm going to Church this Sunday?" Is it just a house of worship?
Is it just something to do on a Sunday morning out of duty and routine?
While this post is not an essay on Church, it is about one in particular. Recently, I heard an additional definition of LaFayette Alliance Church(LAC) where my husband pastors.
A refuge for the suffering(Pastor Rob)
suffering=: the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.
refuge=: shelter or protection from danger or distress; something to which one has recourse in difficulty(Webster's Dictionary)
The past few years this definiton has evolved for LAC. The darkness and confusion of fog hovering over our Church have left us with no recourse, but to run to our Savior with our questions, hurts, and uncertainties. When the fog does not lift, we need a refuge. Psalm 46:1-3Not only are many suffering from cancer, but there has also been the sudden passing of loved ones, a cancer diagnosis of a mother caring for her son who has cancer, lost jobs, broken bones, broken hearts over children gone astray. What can be done when the burden is heavy? the brokenhearted crushed?
One thing we have stopped doing is asking why. I recently sat with my husband at the bedside of a woman of God just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. A wife and a mother, taking care of her husband who is not well, and her son who has fought his own battle with cancer for several years. With our arms wrapped around this family, weeping with those who weep, my husband wisely and lovingly said;
I don't know 'why' this is happening, if I knew, I would be God.'
While we do want to know 'why' to so many circumstances we face every single day, a better question as followers of Jesus is 'what'? And in the midst of the many trials and suffering where we find ourselves, we run to our Great God, in the name of Jesus Christ, and pour our hearts out to him. Praying together as a community has brought comfort and assurance that we are not alone.
In addition to praying fervently for one another, our community of believers makes meals, does yard work, visits those who are sick at home or in the hospital, and writes notes of encouragement. We have come together in the mist of the fog, believing that in joy and sorrow, laughter and sadness, anticipation of new life or new relationships, that we will rejoice in God our Savior who has promised to never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
LAC, a refuge for the suffering? Yes. But also a place where you will be welcomed, embraced and loved, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
Come join us on a Sunday morning!