Philippians 1:29–30 (NKJV)
29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.
This very nice capture was taken by our guest photographer with a simple, hand-held point and shoot camera. Shows what being at the right place at the right time can bring.
The composition is very appealing to me on several levels. The calm water and the gliding birds portray quiet peace but the dark clouds communicate an impending storm. For sure, something is going to change, .... and soon.
It's that idea of foreboding that gives the Pelican formation its special significance in my thinking. How nice it is, riding the calm breezes with friends close by when you know that you might very well need them before very much longer. Such must have been the case with those Philippian Christians so long ago when the Apostle Paul told them, in his inerrant and infallible words, that God had ordained that they would have the high honor and privilege of suffering for the name of Christ.
How would one prepare for that? How would one spend the days of calm breezes over quiet waters waiting for the storm clouds to fully arrive and break over them? Putting our houses in order would definitely be a priority, but so would looking about us for what we will need to stand up to what is coming. How infinitely precious then it would be to have friends, and more than friends, brothers and sisters in the faith, about you on whom you know that you can depend and they, looking at you, know the same thing about you. How especially warm it would be to pray together, asking for God's upholding strength, building each other up, comforting those who tremble, begging God for wisdom, warming our hearts with each other's hands.
What God has promised He will provide and certainly in the face of impending storms, His provision is fully sufficient. But most often we will find that provision in His people. It is not the material things that will carry us... it is the spiritual things, and nothing is more important in times of trouble than to know your friends are there, going through it with you in full mutual dependence, trust and respect. It's worth it all.
When I was a young Navy pilot we had many of our brothers and other service members in the Hanoi Hilton facing terrible days and nights. Some information got out and it was always the same. They held each other up, strengthened each other, comforted each other and never, ever gave up on each other. All broke at one point or another... it was inevitable. But "breaking" and staying "broke" are two different things and it was the power of the fellowship, the koinonia, the camaraderie of their union that sustained them.
Such is what the church is designed to be. God's Holy Spirit draws us together, gives us brothers and sisters to glide with in calm air and who flap furiously with us when the gales hit. We are together, with Christ, going through whatever He has ordained to be the way His Kingdom is to be built. "He wills us be... a family, diverse, yet truly one; O let us give our gifts to God and so... shall His work on earth be done."
Praise God for the "fellows" He has provided... Praise God for unity... Praise God for His abounding grace to men in giving us... each other.