Our Need for Community

It’s probably not news to hear that Jessy and I have been a mess for the last couple of weeks as we have faced some really scary and uncertain times as a family. It is safe to say that these have been some of the hardest circumstances we have ever faced. It has been a strange mix of good and bad. God has been near, actively moving and drawing us to himself. Time would fail me to list the ways we see this. But that work of God has come through suffering. Often this is the case following Christ. We get brought to impossible-to-navigate situations and emotions so that we can come to the end of ourselves where God meets us with open arms. 2 Corinthians 4:7 says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” We deceive ourselves when we think that we are made of titanium, metal, secure, indestructible jars. But this passage tells us that he puts His treasure in jars of clay. Suffering acquaints you with the feeling of “being clay.” But notice the good that comes. We experience the fragility, instability, weakness of “being clay” SO THAT we can come to know - through experience - that the power belongs to God. You can’t understand that when everything is going well. According to this passage, you only understand the power of God when you understand your weakness. We have experienced that. 

But something else we have experienced during this time is how important community and the church is. We all know in theory that we were made for community - to be known, cared for, and loved by others. All of us can communicate that to some level at Sola. But our family is experiencing something beyond “theory” right now. There is a sense that we are being sustained by God through others. The Gailey Family’s growth in Christ is a community project. What I mean is that God has called us into relationships that aren’t trivial. We do not know where we would be right now without the community that God has put around us. At the very least I can say that we would not be doing good. 

I have mentioned to some of you how dark those early days were for me. I sensed bitterness and cynicism as we faced unclear and scary diagnoses with Elisha. That bitterness and cynicism was aimed, in some ways, toward God. God’s promises were so far from my recollection. A Gospel that I communicate weekly on Sundays, in weekly counseling sessions, in small group settings could not be found. But as I turned to the Lord in my bitterness and cynicism - searching for Him and His promises - He met me in unexpected ways.

  • He used the words of my grandmother to comfort me in the hospital.
  • He used a late night call in the hospital with a friend where I just sat there with not much to say. 
  • When we did not have the capacity to pray on our own, he used early morning prayer calls with our pastors to give us the words to say.
  • He used a friend who spoke basic promises of God to me that I for some reason could not find/remember myself. 
  • He used a friend who commanded me to go read a scripture, and when I did I was deeply comforted. 
  • He used many of you to speak simple, clear words with prophetic power and encouragement. 

I knew I needed community in the Christian life. But I did not know how badly I needed it. I need it more than I tend to think when things are going well. And when the Lord delivers Elisha from this trial, I’ll need to be reminded of how important it is again. Community is a tangible way that we touch the grace of God. If we are the body of Christ, then our care for one another is like Christ is caring for us. I hope that no one has to face what we have gone through with Elisha, but I do hope that each of you go through something where “the rubber meets the road” and you get to taste even more how important the body of Christ is to your life and your growth in Him. 

I share all of this as we all prepare for our 6 year anniversary service coming up this Sunday. I can’t believe it has been 6 years! What a wild ride we have been on together! I would have never dreamed the last 6 years would be what they have been. Through it all, I can say that you guys are family. I am so honored to be your pastor and to be walking hand in hand with one another following Christ. What a joy! What a privilege! As we prepare for worship together Sunday I know that our family will be very aware of the tangible grace of God that our church has been to our family. I pray that you will too!

Love you Church,

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1 Comment

Casey - January 6th, 2024 at 6:58pm

I love this! The support and community you are experiencing also comes from the vulnerability you and Jessy have expressed. Thank you for allowing us to be part of this with your family!