Robin Murray is the pastor of Castlegar United Church

Robin Murray is the pastor of Castlegar United Church

FAITH: Preparing for hard times

Castlegar pastor Robin Murray talks about building a support system

Submitted by Robin Murray, Castlegar United Church

Winter has come to the Kootenays as it always does. We prepared for it. We put winter tires on our cars. We got out the mitts and toques from the backs of our closets. Those of us with gardens turned off the water spigots and drained the hoses. We got everything ready and now the cold is here.

In our lives, we know the hard times will come, just like winter. We know it. Our health will challenge us. Loved ones will die. We might face other challenges like a loss of work or our home, often through no fault of our own. There will be times in our lives for each of us where we need help or comfort.

So what do we do to prepare?

The best preparation there is, is to build relationships with a network of those who we can count on when times get tough. For me, that network is my church community. And I know I can count on them for a couple of reasons. First of all, because we spend time together talking about our fears, our concerns, and our shared values of helping those in need. We have laid a foundation for mutual trust.

Sure, you can wait until you are in crisis to reach out, and chances are, church folk will try to help out. But it is difficult to figure out what a person really needs if you don’t know them. And it is equally difficult to receive the full support you need from someone who you don’t know well enough to fully trust.

The second reason I know I can count on my church community, is that I have been there for them when they needed me. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.”

Of course, not everyone I have helped during times of trouble will be capable of returning the favour when my need arises. This is where having a relationship with a whole community of people is so important. We can’t be all things to all people all of the time. All we can do is to love and support one another as we go, as best we can.