As life continues on I find myself often quoting the phrase “One day at a time” as well as “Your mileage may vary” in terms of life experiences.
The Church -either the whole of those professing to follow Jesus Christ and/or a local fellowship you’re involved or were involved with- STILL does what it does together or apart one day at a time. Regardless your experience or another’s, it’s still a matter of mileage -which varies. Comfort, discomfort -is-, regardless.
One person seems to truly find blessing, grace, purpose and peace with this or that group of people while the next person among the same people consider their experience one of misery, confusion, perhaps even rejection or plain crazy and irrelevant.
There are so many reasons for either person and the layers of positive or negative feelings and actual struggles or uplift there’s simply no way to list them all.
What I’d like to say is that the issue of life is always that of a third phrase I’ve also repeated continuously over some past decades: “Wherever you go, there you are.”
Whether The Bible, interpretation of it, application or lack thereof regardless of interpretation, then whether it seems God has answered your specific prayers, considering what we need versus what we want, the timing of or zero “answer” or perhaps even “No” seemingly from God Himself all enter into one’s judgment as “This church”, or even God Himself “works for me” or not.
What I’ve found is that the sun indeed shines on the just and the unjust, same for the rain. Our perception is so often focused on us. Physical pain is a massive culprit that tests our ability or certainly willingness to both seek and be faithful to God in practice.
One of many, many things I’ve learned from my wife is the ability to love, serve and be a blessing to others though much of her life she’s suffered pain. From actual abuse in her younger years through mental/emotional roller coaster rides trying to cope up and until following the Lord in her 18th trip around the sun right through our marriage (at 19) to now- 49 years later in our marriage I’ve watched the grace of God displayed in her life.
In large part she chose and chooses to respond to life by faith. She was given plenty of reasons to disbelieve, is a truly intelligent person (moreso than I) and could have cursed God, anything to do with church, family and etc. long ago but chooses to love, forgive and set an incredible example in my and many other lives.
So many times the tests have come to her! I’ve also lost count of how many others I’ve known who also responded as she has!
Then again we’ve known plenty who continually chose to break off relationships again and again, even to the extent of breaking fellowship with God, with His Word. In part this was (or currently is) their method of avoiding, numbing the pain they experience in reality, by their own belief or the beliefs of others.
A ship that never finds or chooses a port escapes one set of risks only to face a fresh though perhaps different set of them.
A sense of control seems to be the issue and of course there are plenty of things we cannot control in this life, on this planet or among person or people group X, Y or Z. What to do?
For myself all of this finally placed me in such desperation I called on Jesus in faith after He showed up -totally unexpectedly I might add! I certainly had no real idea how things would go in my life after.
In that my addictions and sense of deep lost-ness had only served to rot me through and through -and I had simply withdrawn from people repeatedly when things didn’t “suit” me… until that time of surrender to the Lord opened me up to relationships with a wide (and I mean broad) sort of Christ-following people… I finally realized most of my pain was self-induced.
Continually splitting from discomfort didn’t comfort me in the end. What a shock, surprise and sense of relief when I began to experience healing from the worst tyrant I’d ever known: myself.
For now I’ll just finish this post by saying one more thing: nobody is flawlessly, perfectly faithful and unchanging but God Himself. Regardless of circumstances or suffering, nothing can nor will ever change that. It IS a matter of faith, but what a difference Jesus has made in my life, in a world so laced with lost and sinking ships.
His love and grace has sustained me right through my lifetime and I simply cannot recommend anything or anyone more than the risen Jesus as there simply isn’t anyone who can match Him in terms of a relationship of love and provision -even when things don’t go my/your way.
The church? Ha! In that all of us put together don’t equal God I never expected perfection nor even maturity of the family of God on earth, so when I saw actual sin, nastiness and at times in history brutality I wasn’t all that surprised knowing all those things are always possibilities and even probabilities in me also. You find them right through both world and church history.
Nothing new under the sun until He began (and still is…) making me new!
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn