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Spiritual Training Cycle: Connection (wk. 7/13)

The church my husband and I attend offers communion about once a month. Every time without fail we have this inside joke. They pass out the elements: a cup of grape juice which is basically as much as a liquid teaspoon and a dime-sized wafer on top. The wafer has zero taste and probably no nutritional value at all. Every time I lean over to my husband and whisper to him, “oh thank goodness; I’m starving!” and then once we’ve taken the communion I lean back over and whisper, “gah, I’m so full now.”

It's a joke to say I’m full because the communion elements themselves are not filling or fortifying to my appetite. If I’m truly hungry while we are in the middle of the service and I receive the communion my stomach will still be growling the rest of the hour. However, when I fully and actively participate in the opportunity that communion provides, a celebration of the new life found in Jesus, my entire life, not just my fleshly appetite becomes fulfilled and fortified in a way no other substance or person can provide.

Oxford Languages defines Fortify as: providing (a place) with defensive works as protection against attack. Similar to secure, protect, surround, strengthen.

When I recognize that communion is fortifying and read that definition, I am blown away at how much God shows up in all those ways in my life when I let Him. When you step into the new life found in Jesus you can look back over your life and see where He consistently shows up. The moments you’ve been strengthened, surrounded, protected with no explanation to how it was even humanly possible to get through without His presence, guidance, and peace.

I think about my own life and one of the hardest moments I’ve gone through; pain and heartache I’ve never experienced before until the day I went into the hospital from miscarrying at almost twelve weeks. They estimated my baby girl stopped growing and her heart stopped beating around ten weeks into my pregnancy. In just those short 10-12 weeks I had already connected with, prayed over, visualized what my family’s life would be like with another girl. Knowing that I would be admitted to the hospital with a baby in my womb and walk out with nothing in my arms, the dreams and love I had already formed vanished before my eyes. I’ve never cried and wept more than I did in that moment.

And through it all, God showed up. Through my husband, the nurses, my family, and friends I had peace. There was still pain yes, but there was also peace that everything would eventually be ok. By the time you read this, it will have been exactly five years to the week, November 8th, 2018, when I experienced that loss. I can’t help but shake my head and smile a little that God is over here showing up in a way that is healing for me all over again. What are the odds I’d be writing about His fortifying goodness and sharing this story on almost the exact date of it happening? Two years after that experience God blessed our family more than I could’ve prayed or imagined on my own with a sweet baby boy and everything is better than ok; it’s redeeming and beautiful.

Jesus is consistent. He offers His fortification to us all day, every day. Therefore, we must be consistent in stepping into that relationship to receive it.

It’s like stepping onto the competition floor or behind the starting line. If you take it seriously, you don’t just show up without training and putting in the work beforehand. You’re consistent with your training, you put in the work day after day for weeks, months. You are consistent. You may be nervous when you show up, but you are prepared. You are confident and know you can accomplish your goal because you trust your training has taken you far enough to do your best.

It's the same with our consistent practice of communion. We rely on God, His Word: scriptures, His promises. We’ve seen Him work, we know His track record and no matter what we have faced or will face in life we can know that we are capable of getting through it because we have a relationship with Him and we can trust Him completely. There may be pain. It may be a struggle. But there will also be peace. You’ll be surrounded, protected, and strengthened in a way that isn’t humanly possible without Jesus.

In Luke 24:13-35, Jesus shows up on the road to Emmaus to two of His disciples. Throughout the time he spends with them he heals their pain, their doubts and disbeliefs. Something ignites their hearts (“were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road..?) to want to spend more time with Him and to tell everyone about what they had just experienced. The communion Jesus shared with them fortified their hearts and their lives in a way that nothing else could and they couldn’t wait to share about it with others. He invites us to do the same in our lives; we just have to be open to receiving it.

Questions for Reflection:

What does the act of communion ignite in you?

When has God shown up in your life and protected, strengthened, and surrounded you in a way you would’ve never experienced without His presence?

How can you consistently show up for God as He consistently shows up for you?

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