I’m an Anglo Aussie who grew up on the northern beaches of Sydney. Suburban life can appear deceptively safe because we rely on material comforts to keep bad stuff under control. In my early married life with my generous Malaysian husband, I grew in my understanding of God’s faithfulness and I learned not to withhold good to my neighbour (Proverbs 3:28).

Fear comes at times of change and challenge.

My husband’s medical practice was located in our own home and he was on call all hours, so we were accountable to our community. Crime was sometimes close by and maintaining grace was at times difficult. As we read 2 Corinthians 4, we were convicted that God wanted us to stay in our current home and to live in a way that clearly revealed the death of Jesus in our lives so that his life would be visible through us.

One year later my husband died suddenly in his sleep while we were on holiday as a family in Hong Kong. During the early years of widowhood my life was a matter of surviving one day at a time. I often thought that the most fruitful I could be was to live to old age and be like Anna in the temple, praising God.

But God has now given me sisters in Christ to walk alongside. Their example reminds me that all that I have belongs to the Lord. God has given me the privilege of giving in ways that have connected my heart to his kingdom and invited me to invest more of myself.

One of my new friends wavers between anxiety about the future and striving to live well. She has been drawn to Jesus, however, through her experience of having another Christian friend who acted with integrity and care toward her while she was vulnerable.

Hope in the powerful name of Jesus is light in darkness—it breaks the bonds of fear.

While walking through Punchbowl in Sydney dropping in flyers for our church’s neighbourhood holiday kids club, we met a Muslim Arabic family having a picnic on their front lawn. They invited us in to spend all afternoon eating and enjoying a relaxed time together. Our relationship has become friendship and we genuinely enjoy the warmth and laughter of their home.

I often wonder how fruitful for the kingdom it would be if every home that called Jesus ‘Lord’ could be as fearless and generous in their welcome of the stranger as this family has been to us.

Lydia is a physiotherapist and a CultureConnect team member living in Sydney.

Names have been changed.

How fruitful for the Kingdom it would be if every home that called Jesus ‘Lord’ could be as fearless and generous in their welcome of the stranger as this family has been to us.