Saturday, May 23, 2015

God, are you there? It sure is hard to see you right now!

I've hesitated blogging about this, but my church has been so much a part of me, I really feel I needed to share.

Our local church home has been a big part of our families life for almost 30 years. I stepped in the doors of that church when our oldest son was only 3 years old. I took him to Sunday School there on the recommendation of a friend from our apartment complex. She was teaching Sunday School there and her kids also attended. Turns out our son ended up marrying her daughter all these years later, but that's another story.

We joined the church, my husband found Jesus there, and both our boys were baptized there. Our kids were raised in that church, and learned to know Jesus there. We renewed our wedding vows there 15 years ago.  We spent many happy hours working around the church, on our Christmas tree lot each year, in the kitchen at pancake breakfasts, in prayer and bible study groups, teaching Sunday School myself and being involved in the other many ministries of the church. Recently, our precious granddaughter was baptized in the same church where her parents were committed to God many years ago. So, what has happened?

Our beloved church has actually closed its doors after being in service for over 55 years. 55 years of serving the Lord. 55 years of serving the community and reaching out to others in the name of Jesus. It closed, not because there weren't faithful congregants, some of us had been there 10, 20, and 30 plus years. It closed because of mismanagement by those who should have been held accountable.

Deception is a terrible thing. It's especially hard when you can't trust those who proclaim the name of the Lord. Help us Lord to have discerning hearts that are focused only on you; that has been my prayer throughout all this confusion. Lord, show us your truth in all this.

I have to admit that many times it has been really hard to see God is all this mess, but I know he's there, none the less. I'm not sure what His plans for our church are, but I know His plans will prevail. There has been some talk from the district about a church adoption next year. I don't know if I trust that is going to happen at all, but that could be my disappointment seething through.

One thing I know for sure. God is in charge of what going to happen next. My job is to trust and obey. Trust that He knows what He's doing and it's all part of His perfect plan. Proverbs 19:21 reminds us  "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails."

There has been a lot of hurt for a lot of God's people through all this, but I know that the Lord can heal those wounds and bring new life into that church if it is His will and if we all are willing to forgive and move on.

As I was working on this piece, my dear sweet husband shared with me a devotional that he received via email this morning. As you can imagine, we have both been struggling with the hurt and confusion that has occurred over the past months. It was not a coincidence that these were the words placed before us. I know that for sure, it was definitely a God -Thing.

The devotional was about forgiveness and hate and the ramifications of those awful actions. It was about many believers inability to forgive those who hurt them the most - especially when the treatment was undeserved. It said it is impossible to share Christ with hatred in your heart. God calls us to turn over everything to him, including all the hurt and bitterness and start fresh with a new heart. He forgives us, who are we not to forgive others?  

Ephesians 4:31-32 tells us to "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." 

I felt like Jesus was talking directly to me. "Let it go and move on" were the words I heard over and over again, loud and clear. ENOUGH!

I know that the Lord can take anything that is broken and restore it to new beauty if that is his will. He is a God of restoration and he is a God of new beginnings. Another favorite verse comes to mind about God turning ashes into beauty. 

Isaiah 61:3 
"to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes."

I am resting on His promises to restore what is His. After all, it's not my church, it's His church.  I am resting on his promises to turn something ugly and broken into something beautiful. I know he can do anything he wants at anytime, and therein lies my hope and the hope for all mankind. Lord Jesus, Show Me Your Glory!

My verses for today are above in red

My prayer for today:

Heavenly Father,

This has been such a hard thing for me and for my family and so many other families in our church. Please Lord, heal up the wounds, bring new life into our church, give us a new purpose in serving you. Help us to forgive those who have hurt us so we can shine again for you! You forgave us Father, help us to forgive others as you have commanded. Help us to confess our sins and turn to you in anticipation in what you are going to do!!


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