As I was thinking about visiting our church family back in Kansas, I was moved to write about the moving process. Here is what I wrote:
A few months ago, our family packed up all our belongings, left our friends, and drove over a thousand miles in order to move to Middlefield, Ohio. We did this because it was apparent to us that God was leading me to a pastoral position at Cornerstone Bible Church here in Middlefield. On a snowy day in February, our family entered central Geauga county not sure what to expect, but certainly knowing what we were leaving.
Moving can be difficult. It can be difficult financially as the cost of selling a house these days can be draining. It can be difficult physically as packing and loading trucks can be overwhelming. But most of all moving can be difficult relationally. I will never forget telling our son that we were moving. As tears streamed down his face, he kept asking, “what about my friends?”
His words and this move have taught me something about the Christian life. When God created us in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26), one of the dominant longings of our heart is community. We thrive best in this life when we are involved in each other’s lives. We have been created to be relational. It is no doubt that the Bible speaks to how we should be involved in each other’s lives.
The Bible says “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Rom. 12:10). Our love for one another in the church should be like that of family. Not the sort of family you might see on “reality” TV, but the type of family that sacrifices and gives up their preferences for the other person. Later on in that chapter, we are told to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). This only happens when we live life with each other. When we have our homes open. When we engage people where they live and what they do. And especially when we open up our life to let people know the real us.
As I reflect back, I remember driving into that city seven years ago to be part of that church. We knew no one. We had no relationships. But God provided us with some of the closest friendships we have ever experienced in our life. I expect the same here as we live life with each other.
Now, after getting back from vacation, I would say that last line is even more true. I expect God will do the same here as we live life with each other here in Ohio.