I first visited my current church in 1999. After coming from a big church with great programs we had moved to a smaller town and therefore a smaller church. Was the word sound? Yes. There wasn’t a band just background music and singers. You had to work to be a part of the congregation. On our third visit there were chastised for sitting in certain seats and told to move and take it up with the pastor if we didn’t like it. We got called into a meeting to ask why we didn’t laugh at jokes.
I asked my husband to please move churches. He said no. He explained that the word was sound and scripture was accurate. Instead, he asked me to look to God and see where I could help and what I could pray for. He assured me that if the Lord prompted us to move we would. I wish I could tell you that I received this well, but I can’t tell you that truthfully. I am eternally grateful for the lesson though.
Now 14 years later here I am. Same place. I love our church. It’s not perfect because we’re human. We have a band now. I wish we had some gospel, but I no longer worry about the music. I just sing. I see people who are trying to love Jesus. I see people who help each other. They have their pluses and minuses of me as well and it’s more than likely fair. I don’t worry about it. We’re a family. They got me through the death of my husband and loved and judged me through my new marriage. I have done the same with them. Don’t worry, we all repent and get back up and love again. It’s just our flesh. Today, as before, I just see where I can help and see what I can pray for. I look towards the Lord for direction.
Today an uncomfortable thought came as I studied the word.
What if I had my way all those years ago and I had left the church?
That question led to more uncomfortable thoughts:
- What would I have learned about Spirit guiding spirit? I wouldn’t have. I would have fed myself.
- What if I decided the Pepto Bismol walls and wallpaper border were just over the top? Well, actually, I did decide they were over the top but what if that had been my measurement of whether to stay or go? By the way, the color was that of the one above.
- What if I wanted a band like the one I was used to? I would have missed the process of the forming of the band we have now.
- Would I have learned to love God and love his people? No, I would have learned that this Christianity is about me and what is good for me.
- What if I had changed churches like I’ve changed diets? Church would have become a fad of what the masses are doing and not what I’m called to do.
- What would my spirit look like if I only had it my way? I’d be fat, dumb and happy in the flesh, but I would not have learned obedience and comfort are two distinct things and not everything is about me.
I met a friend for lunch. “How’s your church?”, I asked. “It’s not what I’m used to, but until God says move, I’ll stay.” I smiled and reached for her hand, “I understand!”
I have learned through all of this that God is in control. He puts us where he needs us and he doesn’t ask opinions. He expects that when we get to a certain point in our walk with him, that we walk in obedience not always in comfort. So what will you do? Will you stay where you’re at until you’re called to move? Or you will wander, until you get what you want? Will you murmur and complain or will you work to love? I’m praying that you hear him clearly lead you in the direction you are destined to follow.