When Hardship Beckons
January 12, 2022

     Our pastor is beginning a new book study at our church today in a book titled “A   Firm Foundation.” Apparently, the denomination of the church I have been attending since I got married a year ago is in serious crisis. Our pastor is calling us to deal with it. His approach? Focus on Jesus: who He is and what He said.  And… get personally and deeply acquainted with Scripture and let it be our guiding authority. I am thrilled and relieved that he has taken this stance. I love our pastor so much – I am fully persuaded he is sound in his theology and in his devotion to God’s people – the church.

     I came to our church when I married Eric, a year ago. Several of my friends were absolutely opposed to my going there and voiced their displeasure about it. But two things kept my ball rolling in that direction: one was the fact that I was 100% certain Eric was in my life by God’s design and I felt uninclined to demand he leave his church as he was in maximum ministry there. And the other was that one of my friends at “my”. Church became overtly and violently vicious with me and my entire family because I would not leave Eric – after I was married to him. And she had a prominent position in that church. I had two responses to her activity. The first was shock and heartache. The second was great consternation and strong – very strong – indignation.

     But it brought me to my knees in fervent prayer. What was I to do? What was God’s call on the situation? What did the Bible have to say about the matter? My decision would have far – reaching results, would affect a very large number of people.

     I got my answer rather quickly. I felt the need to stand by my family. And I felt absolutely that I was to stand by my husband. Eric was firm with me – he said I was not to trash her name under any circumstances. I was not to gossip about her.  But I needed to take action to keep myself from being poisoned by the incident. And scripture gave me my direction: separate myself from the situation. “Shake the dust off my feet and move on.”

     Where Eric and I had been dividing our time between his church and mine, I gave up attending mine and began attending his full-time. At first, I was quite nervous about that for a number of reasons. I missed worshiping in my familiar environment, with my old friends. I was a little scared about cutting free from a very comfortable lifestyle and entering lock, stock, and barrel into untried territory.

     My worries proved groundless. To my great surprise and delight, I found myself among a people who embraced me with kindness and acceptance. My relationship with God began to deepen and take me into interactions and service I had never previously known. The pastor was dynamic in his ministry and very creative in his approach to leadership. And his family was charming beyond words.

     I cannot say I do not miss my past life. Sometimes I do, just like I miss my deceased husband. But the life I am now ensconced in is renewing, refreshing, and so unexpectedly full of blessing. I can honestly say I have no regrets but one – that my friend refused to reconcile with me. But truly, the unfortunate event forced me into a profitable decision I would otherwise not have made. As the Bible says, “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called to His purposes.” Crisis is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it shakes us loose from stubborn immature clinging into a meadow of freedom and growth.