A POWERFUL TESTIMONY FROM THIS VERY WEEK!
This past Easter/Resurrection Sunday was really different for George and me and in some ways, very difficult. Since we do not have a home church at this time, we decided to visit our former church in Claremont, the church that he and I met, and then go on and visit my son and daughter-in-law at their church in West Covina.
As soon as we pulled into the parking lot of our old church, we saw people waving, obviously excited to see us. It warmed our hearts and at the same time, it resonated with the importance of family/community and a home church. We spent the first half hour hugging on people we haven’t seen in years and then we went inside. Worship was absolutely anointed – Jake from Jesus Culture led it – and it really prepared the hearts for what he had to say at the end of an altar call.
As an aside, it was the pastor’s son up there doing the altar call and a mini message. I was so encouraged to realize that the church of tomorrow is gonna be okay!
So after two people came forward for the altar call, and Josh was winding it up, Jake starts to speak. This is what he had to say: “Okay, so we just did an altar call, and we only have ten more minutes together so I want to get real with you. First of all, your body is an altar, so congratulations.”
Well, I for one had never heard that, but I was listening.
He goes on. “I know there are people out there saying ‘I don’t want to recommit my life, or know this Jesus guy because I’m mad at Him. I’m ticked off and I just don’t understand how this God thing works.”
He became quiet for a few seconds. “But you know what? You’re here, so you must believe something. It’s no accident that you’re here.”
I so swear you could have heard a pin drop but my teardrops were probably louder. I could feel my friend that I had invited tense up and I began praying for her because I knew he was describing exactly what she was feeling.
He continued. “It’s okay if you’re mad. Do you remember the words cried out by David and then later echoed by Jesus on the cross, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’ So you see, even Jesus cried out in frustration and hurt, echoing the words of David who had said exactly the same thing years husbefore Him. So instead of calling you up here for an altar call, why don’t you just stand as an altar and say, ‘God, I’m mad at you, but I’m not giving up. I don’t understand what you’re doing in my life, or with my life, but I’m here and I’m not giving up’.”
By this time, the tears are coming faster than I can wipe them because not only did my friend stand up, but my husband stood up, too. Oh, when someone you love becomes vulnerable like that, it just does something, kind of un-clogs your own heart and tears become streams of water. I can’t even begin to describe how deep his hurt cut into my own heart.
See, we’ve been praying and fasting for a couple of situations for quite some time now, and there doesn’t seem to be any changes It’s painful to watch. To top it off, we have never been without a church home, and it has been especially hard on my guy. Don’t get me wrong; his faith is as strong as ever. He just has a lot of questions and his heart is hurting. And on Resurrection Sunday, he learned it was okay to express his frustration and hurt with God. It was so freeing because to acknowledge hurt is the first step to letting it go!
There is no such thing as a perfect church – otherwise I couldn’t attend – and we must try to remember that Godly people do ungodly things, but church is family and family is one of the most vital necessary components for our emotional and spiritual growth. Spiritual growth is what helps us through those times when we are mad at God and/or we just don’t understand what the heck He’s doing with and in our lives.
So if you’re not rooted in a home church, may I encourage you to do so, and would you pray that we would land in one soon, too?