Do you want community even when it hurts?
Every couple of months I have someone sit down with me in my office that is either frustrated, burned out, not being fed, or hurting deeply from a wound dealt by another church member. These feelings are usually valid and are always cared about by God and the broader church family. However, people are often torn about what to do or how exactly how to respond to their feelings. Admittedly, the intensity of our feelings often cloud our judgment and ability to see what is truly at stake. The temptation to start fresh somewhere else is particularly present in these moments BUT, we must remember that the reputation of Jesus among our roommates, co-workers, and neighbors is at stake in how we respond. To bail when the going gets tough, belittles the power of God and His gospel to a watching world. Simply put, the Glory of God is at stake precisely when it is most difficult to persevere through difficulty in a local church community. Excitingly so, the gospel we preach becomes curiously attractive to the world when the lives we live are under-girded by its power (1Peter 3:15). It is not easy to persevere. It is a cross to bear. Every day. Jesus understands. He didn’t want to bear his cross, but He desired the Father to be glorified even more (Luke 22:42) and thus endured His own cross with joy (Hebrews 12:2). God knows every frustration, disappointment and pain you will encounter in your church community in 2011. Some of them are going to absolutely floor you. Jesus understands. Jesus has shown you the way of perseverance. Jesus will empower you through His Spirit. All for the Father’s greater glory!
For further meditation on similar ideas, check out this article by Bonnie McMaken.