Episode 1 comes out tomorrow (7/22/16)! Alex and Jason share what its like to take a hit from the church and how God keeps them moving! You can listen to it here or find us on iTunes and subscribe! For now, read part 2 of Alex’s blog below. (You can read part one here)
“I am having a hard time loving the Church” were some of the words that came out of my mouth when I was meeting with a mentor friend of mine. It was kind of a relief to say it out loud to someone I trusted. I knew in the back of my mind it was not a good place to be but that was my feeling on the matter. I was bitter towards the organization itself and every Church that my wife and I tried out just didn’t feel right. This fueled my frustration towards the whole idea of Church. I have been in these types of conversations before but I was the one trying to give wise counsel. Here I am now sitting across the table from my mentor at a coney island style restaurant admitting that I’m not “John Q. Churchgoer” anymore. I would have rather slept in on Sunday then wake up to try some other place out just to leave disappointed because it wasn’t close to home, or the music wasn’t the right style, or that lack of family and home feeling. After I finished my rant, it was my mentor’s turn to talk…and I’m glad he did.
“Is God sovereign Alex?” he asked me. He then proceeded to read out loud in the coney island different Bible text that drove home the point that God is in control. “Nothing happens without his say so.” It was such a simple yet profound truth. I for the longest time wanted something, chased after something that wasn’t what God wanted for me. The church in Flint and my job there was for a season. I needed to let it go for good. That season was over and God was setting things in motion to start the next new adventure. It was also a huge comfort to be reminded that even though getting laid off and watching the doors close at the building where we worshipped was hard, God was there the whole time. He walked with me through losing the dream job. He saw the hurt I went through seeing my Church family scatter when the doors closed. But all the while He was there loving and blessing me. It was in those moments that I remembered Joseph and what he said to his brothers when they saw him in Egypt. “What you intended for evil, God meant for good”. I’m not sure what the next step is for me but I know God has a plan, and it’s way better than mine. With that, my mentor reminded me that God is in control and He is good. I may not see the big picture now, but in the scheme of eternity this is all part of His plan to bring glory to Himself and to redeem mankind.
If that wasn’t enough, my mentor continued his words of encouragement with another familiar text but one I had long forgotten. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Those are red letter Jesus speaking words! If that wasn’t convicting enough I don’t know what is. Yes the Church is made up of broken people and it isn’t long before eventually broken people hurt one another. I was hurt by a decision that the Church made. It compelled me to feel mad and just want to take a back seat when it came to Church. But Jesus didn’t say “love my disciples except when they hurt you”. He said love them! That love will then show the rest of creation that you belong to Christ.
I sat in my seat just feeling the Holy Spirit saying “now what are you going to do about this?”. I knew two simple truths from the Scripture:
- God is in control, His ways are better than mine. Even if I don’t understand, they are still better than my finite view of life.
- Love your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all in this mess together. We need each other. We are one big happy dysfunctional family. Brokenness is here but not forever.
Eternity is a long time. All the believers we love but also sometimes disagree with will one day sit together at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. All the hurt and sorrow will be gone and we’ll look back at our fights and quarrels and laugh at how foolish we were.
I was hurt by the Church but that doesn’t give me license to stay hurt. It doesn’t give me permission to say, “No God, I don’t want to follow your loving instructions.” I am attending Church with my family. Currently trying to work through the awkwardness of being back in that type of setting. I am not healed yet but I am working by God’s grace to get back to the place where I love the Church again.
If your story is similar, please don’t give up on the Church. Jesus hasn’t. It is His bride, His body, and His prized possession. Seek community don’t try and do this thing on your own. God did not design you to live like that. Trust me when this is all over you’ll laugh at that moment when you doubted God’s plan for the Church and whether or not you should love her. See you Sunday Church!