Don’t go MIA! When pain (especially emotional), stress, overwhelming problems, illness finds its way into our lives a temptation we face is to “withdraw,” go MIA.
We are tempted to go Missing-In-Action for many reasons–shame, pride, not desiring to burden someone else, or for multiple other reasons we find ourselves wanting to SHUT DOWN. Exactly what Satan would want. If a “hungry predator” is in pursuit of an animal to devour, the first thing it tries to do is separate it from the group or fold. I was watching the show, “North America,” this summer. It showed over and over the Hunt. Animals seeking to kill their prey using the “hunting and kill tactic!” to separate the selected prey from the group. In life, the enemy uses the same tactic. He loves to ISOLATE people in their pain so that he can whisper lies or even SHOUT them in their ear. Then he can deepen the pain and self-doubt leaving them paralyzed and alone. HE wins!!! Don’t do it. Resist the temptation to flee or isolate from a group when you find yourself in “difficult times and circumstances”.
Fellowship is an essential for all of us. God created us to have meaningful relationships that go beyond the surface. I am talking about the relationships that go to a relational level where our hearts are literally connected to one another in the spiritual realm. When Christ and His word are the “common ground” in relationships, it can KNIT people’s hearts together to love, cherish, support, forgive, and seek the “greater good” of each other. As Christians we are called to treat everyone like Christ would. Seek to share His love with others. Love people where we find them, but to also have relationships of sharing, trust and support with others who can “lift us up” with shared faith.
Young people like to call it “community”. For me, when I was growing up, I called it my church family or Christian friends who shared my faith. God created us to have fellowship first with HIM then with other believers. I love the Scripture in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, TWO WILL WITHSTAND HIM–A THREEFOLD CORD IS NOT QUICKLY BROKEN.”
I meet people all the time who are “broken,” hurting. I love to encourage and do what I can to be their friend, even if all I can do is pray. When I meet someone who I clearly see doesn’t have a community of friends to “Cord” with them, I really desire to invite them to church to find fellowship and common ground with people who can support them and love them where they are! In church, that fellowship would be found in a small group or a Sunday school class that provides Bible study together, but also fellowship and an opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper, more personal level. Of course, we can’t be all things to all people, but we can encourage people TO NOT ISOLATE but seek fellowship with others. Most of all, pointing them to Christ because HE CAN BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE. Church is where I have found life-long relationships that strengthened me spiritually and has provided me with “ROCK SOLID” relationships to withstand the tough times. Times in life that can tempt us to “ISOLATE” ourselves.
Unfortunately, Christians are sinners who are saved but who still sin. Some people in church are “guilty” of shooting the wounded, but not ALL PEOPLE IN CHURCH are that way. IF you have been hurt by someone in Church, look for others who are not like that. They do exist. Don’t judge a painful experience at the hand of a Christian as how all Christians react to someone’s pain. WE mess up too!! I encourage you to seek fellowship.
The church can seem like it is filled with hypocrites at times. The truth? It is filled with imperfect people, seeking fellowship with a PERFECT GOD. Don’t fall prey to the lies of Satan in your pain. Lies that tell you to isolate yourself and not seek fellowship and strength from others. Ask God to lead you to the people and church that can LOVE you and “Cord” with you. There is a place for you, seek it today.
Don’t give up. Don’t go MIA.