“Time and time again I thought, ‘I am just going to sit here and see if anyone bothers to come to me to say hi. Why should I make the first move?’”
— Karen Wilson
CHURCH PEOPLE must arrive at this point above, at least once in life, to understand what it truly feels like to be alone, totally disconnected with other believers, and out of step with community life. To feel estranged to the common Christian love (which can be altogether uncommon – or at least that’s how it might feel) is scary for the active disciple of Christ; hell for the Christian leader.
How do we serve and minister and pray when we can’t feel the love we are so used to thriving on. It’s a confused state that leads many to run or sneak quietly out of church during the last song. Sick of the small talk and superficial babble, the refuge of home is sought; church, during such bedraggling seasons, is fatiguing.
There Is One Who Knows You
When we feel like nobody gets it, it’s God who will eventually remind us: “I hear your soul. You are not despicable or ‘precious’, just fearful and discouraged. Let me revive you. I will use this present weakness for my glory.”
Having understood how vital we are to God – yes, that the Lord desires to save us, to deliver us, and to use us, afresh – and that there is blessing in store, we come also to understand that God will bless us through our service and connection with other people.
We have to get onto the front foot and throw caution to the wind; make a straight way for faith; to toss ourselves into the relational mix.
This poem that follows enshrines a golden and age-old truth:
The devil loves to discourage
And cause doubt
He loves it more
When we begin to pout.
But God will take us
Right from there
Search us totally
Patiently strip us bare.
In tears of defeat
He lifts us anew
As we tremble
He revives faith that’s true.
Having been searched to the point of tears and outright collapse, and now stripped bare, having nothing left, we are ready to receive God’s compassion.
As we read his Word, afresh – Romans 8; 2 Corinthians; selected psalms, etc – we realise what God is doing. He has emptied us so we may be filled anew in his cherished purity, by and with the Holy Spirit.
When the end has come for us, God can finally begin. The Lord desires to do a great work in each of us, but we must first get out of our own way.
The Spirit’s power comes when all our human effort has been burned away. When we have nothing left it is easier to trust, and by trust we will give ourselves over to him who gives us into loving fellowship. And we willingly embrace it.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.