We are listening for God’s voice. Sometimes it is not so easy to hear. But my family is desperately seeking his direction.
Today, we attended a new church.
I have written before about the conflict our church has been going through, and how difficult it has been. We made it through the loss of our Pastor, to whom we were very close. We made it through the bickering and backbiting. We have watched our Contemporary worship service continue to grow and feed many. But still there are those who cannot let go of the past. Still there are those who close their mind to change. We have been the victims of gossip and hurtful rumors. It wasn’t until one of those untrue rumors got back to Jeff a couple of weeks ago that we considered visiting other churches.
I thought we had made it through the hardest parts. We have been faithful and determined. But these constant battles have made us tired. I have watched my husband’s enthusiasm for corporate worship slowly dwindle in the past few months. He says that his faith is stronger than ever, but his faith in people has been diminished. He was part of our worship committee for a time. He witnessed some very disturbing discussions while serving on that committee. He came to the conclusion that his idea of worship and theirs was very different. He decided to serve elsewhere.
It is very sad when good people take their eyes of Jesus and begin to focus on the man made parts of worship. I truly believe these people think they are doing good. They give their time and dedicate themselves to the church. But they have forgotten what it means to reach the unchurched, they don’t remember how to mentor young people, they do not care about making new members welcome; instead, they worry about how the choir processes into the church, they make an issue about what time to close the sanctuary doors, they spend hours debating where the American flag should stand in the sanctuary.
So we went to a new church today.
It was a very lovely experience, and Jeff was relaxed in worship for the first time in many months. It was World Communion Sunday, and this made the experience all the more special. I am always emotional during communion, but today, my tears would not stop flowing. Not only was I imagining all of those across the world who were partaking of the Lord’s Supper with me this day, but I could picture all of those that I loved just a few miles away, sharing in the body and blood of Christ under a different roof.
It was bittersweet. But as I cradled my little piece of bread in my hand, I glanced at my husband’s smiling face. I was grateful that this church was a place of refuge for him, if only for today.
When we got home from church, I went for a run, to hear what God had to tell me about it all. It was one of those runs where I was praising Him for every patch of shade. At 12:30, it was already 85 degrees, and the only hydration I had in me was 2-3 cups of coffee. Great for sudden bursts of energy, but not for a five mile run. I hurt. After about a mile, I was beginning to wonder if I needed to stop and walk, when I came to a very steep hill.
“Lord,” I said, “It would be very easy to give up right now.”
The realization of what I had just said made me laugh out loud. But God wasn’t finished yet.
“Beloved,” He whispered, “I can carry you.”
Do you believe that the rest of my run was as smooth as butter?
It would be very easy to give up on our church right now. Where we stand at this moment, the hurts seem to far outweigh the joys. So was my answer to stay and sweat it out? To endure more pain and frustration?
That is not what I heard the Lord say to me this afternoon. He did not say “stay”. He told me to rest in Him. He told me that He would carry me. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight.”
I’m trusting in Him. I don’t know where He will take us, but I’m not in any hurry. Wherever we end up, I can be sure it will be where He means us to be. Having that confidence will allow us to bear any of the hardship that is involved in our destination, whether it be leaving the ones we love, or standing firm where we are.
Now is the time of prayer. Now is the time for listening.
I am seeking with all of my heart, Dear Ones. Say a little prayer for me, I don’t give up lightly.