I saw a meme last week and this was what it said:
I thought that was really beautiful. I know I feel loved the deepest by the people who know me intimately -the good, the bad and the ugly. There are people that I truly love in this way and have formed an amazingly strong bond.
If you know my story (part of it is here), I have been deeply wounded by both leaders in the church and church attenders. It has resulted in me leaving the church twice.When I came back the second time it was a slow and gradual process because I was afraid of feeling rejected and unloved again by the place and people who are supposed to be the most loving. I wish my experience was isolated and no one else has ever felt that way. Tragically thats not the case, there are many of us.
My slow and gradual process allowed me time to observe. I saw people who really loved Jesus being genuinely loving. I saw people who loved Jesus being complete a-holes. I saw leaders leading with grace and humility. I saw leaders leading by authority and rule. The church is, was and always will be filled with a mix of all these people but they all are the church.
As I navigated the choppy waters that are church life I found myself in a strange place. I was growing more and finding strength. As I grew, I was able to deal with the poor leaders better and not take their issues personally. It still made me angry and frustrated but it didn’t make me want to leave the church- I just saw them as hurting sinful people; just like me.
I realized a short time ago that I have fallen in love with the church. We are seriously messed up, but it’s because God calls the sick to be healed. It doesn’t mean I won’t call people to task when it is important to do so but it means I going to give it my all to change us for the better from the inside out. That starts with me. I have to make sure I am serving the way God is asking me to. It’s not going to do anyone any good to stand outside and throw stones. That will not bring about change.
I want to stand as part of this amazing body of Christ and say lets get better together, It will be messy, it will be difficult and I will make a ton of mistakes but let’s never give up.
There is a common belief that bad things only happen to bad people and good things to good people – or at least it should be that way. Clearly this is not the case in the world in which we live. I have often wondered why people assume, or even expect that, but as I read Deuteronomy 28 today I made a conclusion.
We expect good things to happen to good people and bad to bad people because that’s what God laid out. In that chapter he says if you obey then you will be blessed, and if you disobey you will be cursed. Pretty straight forward and pretty basic. We also see this in many Proverbs.
So why doesn’t this happen? Was God wrong when he had the authors of the Bible write these things? If you look at Deuteronomy you have to keep in mind he wasn’t making a blanket proclamation to the world. He was directing a certain group of people at a specific time. If you look at Proverbs your clue is right in it’s name – it’s a Proverb. A Proverb is a short popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought. It is not a universal law of how the world operates.
No where in the Bible does God ever say life is fair. No where does he make any promises of a fairy tale life once you become a Christian. I wrestled with this when my best friend and her children were murdered. She loved God with her whole heart and her twin boys were only 14 months old. How could God not protect them?
God made us with free will. It means we can love others or we can hurt them. His only promise for ultimate safety and protection come after we die, with eternal life. That’s not to say that God is out there somewhere with his arms crossed just watching us like a spectator. He does intervene at specific times for specific purposes. What either of those are I make no claims to know. I just let Him be God.
I do know one specific time with one specific purpose. He came down himself. He stepped into this world of both joy and pain and took all our sin so that his promise of eternity with Him could be possible. Without that act there is no way any one of us could have bridged the gap we created between us and Him.
So for now, if you continue with the expectation that good things will happen to good people, and vice verse, you are going to be frustrated and disappointed for the rest of your life. If however, you chose to let God be God, you will be able to come to terms with the fact that we live in a fallen world but we don’t live for this world. We live to follow Him and He will take us to the next where bad things don’t happen at all.
Susan and the boys are waiting for me there.
I remember there used to be a saying that, “if you were put on trial for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict?”
This saying made me think about all the good deeds I had done or maybe feel guilt over the non-Christian music I had listened to that week.
What if love was the evidence that we were children of God, BECAUSE IT IS : see 1 John 3:14
Would there be enough evidence to prove you belonged to Him? How much love have you shown this week? Guilty?
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. You remember those guys right? They got thrown into a fiery furnace. I lead 9 other people to the sex show in Vancouver for the fourth year to hand out Bibles and tell people that Jesus loved them.
Here’s what I know:
The furnace boys were not alone. Jesus was with them.
The furnace boys had an impact in their world without mega phones and preaching.
The furnace boys were not harmed in anyway and didn’t even smell like smoke.
The furnace boys lives were changed.
This weekend…so were we. All the glory to God.