In college, I used to meet up with about ten other girls once a week to talk, pray, and study the Bible together. They were a beautiful group of women, and I’ll tell you more about them another time.
At the beginning of our evenings together, after our initial snacking and chatting was done, we’d take turns saying what was happening in our lives. If you’ve ever been in a Bible study or community group, you know what this looks like. In my current small group, we call it “highs and lows”, where we each say something good that’s happening, and then something we feel like we need prayer or support for.
This one particular night, we were doing that. Girls were talking about feeling stressed about their exams, about new friends they were making, about how their relationships with their boyfriends were going. And as each one talked, I could feel a knot in my chest growing tighter and tighter. I was overwhelmed and tired. I had only just met Simon a few months earlier, and he was 3,000 miles away. I was doing really badly in my biology class. I was struggling with my roommates. I couldn’t wait to spew all this out to my friends, so that they could pray and ask God to help me.
Finally, it was my turn. But when I opened my mouth to speak, what came out wasn’t a string of worries and prayer requests. It was a deep, rolling laughter that bubbled up from somewhere in the pit of my stomach. You probably think it sounds like hysteria, and that’s likely what some of them were thinking, too. But in the middle of the laughter, I had the greatest sense of peace. And all I could manage to mutter was, “He loves us.”
In the midst of all of my worries, I was overwhelmed by the joy I hadn’t yet asked for.
Today, I’m praying the same for you.