Estes Echo

The Lord’s Church: A Safe Haven

“The church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thoughts, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support, and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin

Growing up as a part of the church has been a blessing throughout my life. It has held different meanings at different times of my life. In the past I’ve benefited from the edification that is offered here; Church builds you up. The greeters that stand by the front doors never fail to bring a smile to my face. God knew we could all be encouraged by one another if we allow ourselves to get the full benefit from being with the Church. Proverbs 27:23 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

Other times in my life, the Church has been a hospital when I’ve been sick. You may be able to relate. Just like in flu season, we hear of people coming down with sickness right and left, spiritually, we have a treatment that can help you. The treatment was made before the disease—sin—came into our lives, but through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we have the opportunity of being healed. And the best part is, if your immune system gets weak during your life, we have continual healing or “cleansing” to be made perfect. The Bible tells us that “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7; AKJV) Notice it says, “cleans”? It’s continual! It will never stop until the Lord returns to take us home for eternity.

Lastly, the church is our safe haven. In 2 Corinthians 11:24-33, Paul speaks of his suffering while being an apostle “One who is sent.” He tells the Church in Corinth about severe beatings, shipwrecks, his being stoned almost to the point of death, and he mentions the general danger of life. What would it be like to always be in fear or to run from danger? I can’t even imagine. Through all of these dangers, he doesn’t mention his brothers and sisters in Christ. He views the Church as a safe haven. He didn’t view these dangers as an obstacle to try to get around. Rather, he finds in the Church a place of security, acceptance, and love to be part of. Don’t we crave that for ourselves even now? I don’t know if anyone suffered as much as Paul did in his life for the sake of Christ, but I do know one thing, he took advantage of gathering together with the Saints. He found edification in being with them. He helped to strengthen the Church, and the Church helped to strengthen him. Most importantly, he found that in any situation the same church we are part of today was a safe haven for him. And it can be for you too.

–Alex Blackwelder