It's late. The night is "far spent." I'm tired; bone-weary. The cup of coffee that has been keeping me company must have been sitting in front of me for hours - I just took a sip and the black liquid is as cold as rain.

In just about 24 hours I will board another airplane, find another seat, buckle another seat belt, and watch the concrete runway transform itself into blue sky. It's a familiar course we will set: Across the Cascade mountains, and then the Rockies, followed by the Great Plains and then southward, across Georgia, coming to rest at Atlanta. I know the terminal there like I know my own back yard. I'll exit the plane and move to another gate where I'll watch the clock move towards my next departure time, the interminable waiting more exhausting than driving nails into wood for eight hours. Then another flight will be ready and we'll make our way north, from Georgia's pines to Maine's woods, and then our craft will plunge out over Newfoundland, piercing the airspace over the cold Atlantic, passing by Greenland's white ice mass and Iceland's green valleys. And then, some eighteen hours after I began my journey, we'll land again, this time in London, England.

My friends there are more family than they are mere acquaintances. We've been through fire and wind and rain together. I've agonized in prayer with them, waiting to see God's salvation and deliverance   come. They've prayed for me - for my family - during times of crisis and pain. And together we've watched the hand of God intervene, drive out the enemy, bring healing and strength and provision and blessing.

This is why I do what I do; why I endure the long, cramped flights and the cold, remote concourses.   It's why I don't mind arriving somewhere, far away, exhausted before I've begun to pour out. It's why I endure the painful separations from family. Because this is what the church is intended to be. Brothers, literally, and sisters, walking together, believing together, hoping together, holding one   another when one is weak and one is strong.

I've seen enough of surface, fair-weather Christianity to last a life-time. I'm hungry for relationship, for sharing good times and bad times, victory and defeat, laughter and sadness, dancing and mourning with someone who likewise is willing - who desires the same kind of association.

And so, in less than 24 hours, I'll gladly move into the confines of another jet aircraft, strap myself to a miniature seat and settle in for a journey not to another church, but to family.

What is it you would be willing to do to get to somebody who is real, who is your true friend, brother, sister, companion? May I suggest you just go ahead and do it? I can promise you, the pain of getting there is worth the joy of arriving.

In His grace,

Greg

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