Community Before the Crisis

You know when you buy a new car and suddenly you notice every car around you that is the same color? This has been happening to me since God laid the word “community” on me for 2016. Everywhere I turn, community has come up. This week it came up in a big way. I’ll share specifically about that in a moment, but I want to start with something else first.
Back in September of 2009 I had major surgery. The surgery went well and I was discharged from the hospital on time. I was recovering nicely at home until day six. That afternoon I started to lose a lot of blood, and for some reason, the doctor on call did not feel a trip to the emergency room was necessary. “Lay down and call the office in the morning and see when you can get in to see your doctor,” is basically what he said. I remember going to bed that night thinking and feeling this could be it for me. I had never before felt death looming like I had that night.
I woke up the next morning barely able to function. Thankfully my husband got two of our children off to school and the youngest, he was just turning two at the time, had a sitter coming to stay with him. By the time I made it to the doctor’s office, my pulse was faint, and I was immediately wheeled into a second surgery. I was also warned of the possibility of a blood transfusion. The doctors still have no explanation for what had happened to cause the loss of blood, but thankfully I did not require a transfusion.
After the events of this week, I have been thinking a lot about this event in my life. The biggest thing I can remember from this incident was the fact that my husband had to handle this all on his own. He was trying to process the gravity of the situation, communicate information to all of our family (who live out of state), pick up children, and make sure the children had someone to watch them. It was a lot for him. We were attending our previous church at the time, but hadn’t quite connected with anyone there (even though we were trying). We had friends, but maybe not friendships that were deep enough to help in times of severe trouble. And we certainly did not have a praying community holding us up.
Fast forward to this week. A church member and father to a couple girls at my children’s school had a critical medical crisis this week. Within minutes, word was getting around that he needed prayer. The wagons began to circle and by the time I got to the hospital that evening, dozens of people flooded the ICU waiting room. At one point, shortly after receiving the first update, we all gathered hand-in-hand and prayed right there in the waiting room. We needed a miracle.
Since that evening, so many prayer requests and updates have been sent out, and praise reports have been rapidly coming. A miracle has indeed happened and we are praising God for the work He will continue to do. God’s people rallied together. The first night I was there, a dear friend whispered, “this is what it looks like when God’s people rally together. It’s a perfect picture of what it is supposed to be.”

This afternoon I was visiting with my friend, the wife of the man who we are praying for. She said, “I have no idea how people without this (looking around and reflecting) can make it through things like this.” For the past two days family, friends, church members, pastors, and school friends have surrounded her. Lots of time, she said, had been simply spent worshipping and praising...right there in the waiting room...singing songs of praise. She said she needed it in order to be ministered to and to minister to others.
I think back to the day I was in the hospital over six years ago and I can remember seeing my husband’s face. He didn’t have the comfort of having what I have witnessed this week. I know many people have, and are facing, seemingly impossible situations all alone.

Please don’t. It is hard to build community in a crisis. Community really needs to be built before the crisis. 
​For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these
members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we,
though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
(Romans 12:4-5)

Start building today.
  • Get involved in your church...don’t merely just show up and leave. Make sure people know you and know your family. Make sure you know others and their families.
  • If you are not in church, find a church that cares and serves. It doesn’t matter the size of the can be just as invisible in a small church as you can a large one. Sometimes, you have to make the first move.
  • Be intentional with relationships. Don’t take them for granted or forget to water them.
  • Be there for others in their time of need. Community isn’t a one-way relationship.
  • Be kind always. Your witness always travels with you. 
We don’t always understand why things happen the way they do, but I know that as my eyes are opened to glimpses of the Kingdom, His Kingdom always includes people. The Church isn’t a physical building; it is made up of people. God-fearing, peace-filled people look different in a waiting room because the Spirit of God is present and working in and among His people.

This is Kingdom community. If you don't have this in your life, grab a hold of it this year. If you already have Kingdom community, I challenge you to go deeper with your relationships and bring others along.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the
same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.
(Romans 15:5)

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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Keena - January 14th, 2016 at 10:45pm

Erin!! This is beatutiful. Love you so and your sweet heart. You words of wisdom are truth. I'm so happy to be a part of your community. %uD83D%uDC97

Beverly - January 15th, 2016 at 8:14am

Thank you, Erin! Beautiful truth!