Encounter: Read slowly through James 5:13-20 in The Passion Translation and NIV. Underline or journal the words or phrases that seem to resonate with you and begin to ask why.
My run on a pathway up in the mountains brought me through a tunnel and the words, It is well with my soul…, reverberated with echos as I stopped and stood still in the darkest part of the tunnel listening to these familiar words on my Pandora worship station.
It reminded me of something I have shared with many people who are in deep suffering. “Remember, this dark time is not like a hole you will get stuck in, it is like a tunnel you’re walking through. At the darkest point in the tunnel you may feel like you will never see the light again, but if you keep walking you will eventually make it through to the other side. And don’t forget, God and those he brings are walking with you through the tunnel.”
This usually brings about a certain amount of comfort, it’s just hard to be the one going through. Today I am that one in the darkest part of the tunnel and I reached out to a good friend who has been walking alongside me when my knees get weak. Today she was on the phone praying and holding space as I talked about the darkness and she reminded me of the light. Her words were like the reverberating echo of that tunnel, where suddenly the music becomes louder and your soul is touched by heaven for a moment. Those God calls to be with us are His church and He has called us to give and receive light and love through one another.
Isn’t this what James has been telling us in our series? James has been giving us tunnel vision. To help us understand how we can impact each other when life is good and when life takes us on difficult journeys, … Are there any believers in your fellowship suffering great hardship and distress? Celebrating, need healing, in conflict…Encourage them to pray… for tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer!
In the tunnel with you,
Reflect: Worship and community life bring a connection that God has wired us to need. How has the pandemic effected your spiritual growth and relationship with God? Is there something missing? Can you name what you need from others in the church?
Encourage: Is there a person you are called to walk alongside in the tunnel? How can you encourage them to hold on through their dark time? How does the vision of the tunnel change your perspective about suffering? What is the most important thing we need when we’re in the darkest part of the tunnel?
Gather: In your Life Group, Sunday Study Group or with a friend, talk about what you’ve learned from James in this series and what you need prayer for.