Here we go.
Ever since we started visiting the church, people constantly pushed us to go to every service. ‘You’re going to Wednesday night?” I went to Wednesday night, my husband worked. As soon as I started going to Wednesday nights, it was “You’re going to Sunday school…”
The focus was constantly on the church itself. And like I said, I wasn’t having it. I wanted the focus to be on God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I don’t like it when it becomes about the church . It’s not about a building or the people. It’s about God!
I don’t like Sunday school because I don’t like it when the structure comes from a book of lessons. I, personally, feel it limits discussion. Their young adult class wasn’t filled with my peers. The ages, aside from my husband and I, ranged from 37-55. My peers? They were still part of the teen program, though they were in their 20s.
By this time, I had lifted the situation to God. For weeks, I had been in tears praying to God to show me what He wanted me to know. “Is this where I need to be? Show me, God because I don’t know, and I don’t know what to do.”
Well, Sunday morning I was prepared. I repeatedly asked God to open my mouth if I needed to say something. First affirmation from God was that morning’s reading covered my favorite book of the Bible, Matthew. Second affirmation came from the scripture reading of the End of Times.
Asking God to guide me, I prayed for strength.
One of my all time favorite subjects, and something I’ve studied from multiple books of the Bible. For some, they may say this was a coincidence, but for me, it was all too clear this was God. End of Time topics tend to be taboo in churches because of the variety in interpretations, let alone a Sunday Morning discussion.
“Lord, You’re testing me,” I felt in my spirit. But I felt His hand on me, telling me to breathe, and not be afraid.
Cause I was consistently reminded of Jeremiah, and his fear to speak to the those older than him. Similar to my situation, surrounded by adults, much older than me, and much wiser in their own eyes. I already had felt few people truly listened to me.
There were no Bible study Wednesday nights with the pastor, like my home church. Instead, I was told discussion happened in Sunday school. However, our morning wasn’t much of one. The teacher would ask a question, someone would answer simply and bam, next question.
I felt constant twitching throughout my body. There was no deep discussion. Everything felt so very automatic on responses, more basic blessing talk, and nothing that pulled you in.
Till one question was asked by the Sunday School teacher, that was affirmation three.
Almost with a smirk on his face, like he came up with the most brilliant question, he asked. “Now, why do you think God hasn’t came and got us yet?”
My stomach turned. My face flushed. Mentally, I was screaming, “BECAUSE IT ISN’T ABOUT US! WHO ARE WE TO QUESTION GOD’S PLAN?!”
What have we become…Job?
No one spoke. And I felt the burning push in my soul, “Say something. You asked God to show you if you needed to speak. Now is the time!”
Awkwardly, I raise my hand. All eyes on me, I reply. “Scriptures say it’s going to get a lot worse. Jesus says many will fall, which includes believers.”
A pin drops and it remains silent for a number of seconds.
But then, something happens. People actually start discussing things. Soon after this, the teacher says, though he has more material, we’re done for the day. And I did notice he looked in my direction as he said he had more material.
I don’t know why you would end class early, when you have more material??
This became more of a reason for me that this church was not where I needed to be. God made it painfully clear. A week after this service, my husband and I did venture back, but church was canceled due to snow. Not one person thought to call us, or text us, though my “friends” from the church had my number. No one told me there was a Facebook page for the church, even though the girls were Facebook friends with me.
And that was the last service we went to. I had so desperately wanted to be a part of the church. I participated and volunteered in activities, usually I wouldn’t have. But even then, my actions didn’t help me make friends. It was all about the church.
Let me add, Jesus WAS the church wherever He went. There was fellowship, worship, and breaking of bread.
Let me say it again. Church isn’t about a building. It isn’t about our works. We do what we called to do, but we put the focus on Christ moving. Not us.
Church is crucial because we do not forsake the body of believers, and we need to continue to be accountable to our relationship with Christ. This is where a shepherd is needed. But not every church, shepherd, and flock is always reflective of Christ and being Christ-like. Sometimes it’s the shepherd, sometimes the congregation, and sometimes both.
I had to learn that from being an outsider, and what I was to take from that experience I didn’t realize till months later…
Find out in next week’s conclusion on how God opened my eyes to the fact…
I was bitter and didn’t know it.
~T. R. Noble
(All Images Used Are From Pexels)