Sometimes things happen after much effort and concentration. After careful study and deliberation. And then, sometimes, they happen when you least expect and don't have any advance warning. That's how it happened to me.
For some years my family and I were in another season of life. We were fruitfully engaged in relationships in a local church setting, enjoying the fellowship of life among brothers and sisters we knew and cared about. We have actually had more than one season like this, and they have been really a blessing. For the last few years, this has not been the case.
In the middle of 2011 I completed my commitment in the missions effort I was working in and this in many ways also marked the end of my involvement with the church and ministry we had been a part of. But we didn't have a place to go to immediately, as we knew our time before relocating states away was coming toward us. At least for me, I dropped off the grid a bit, as far as meetings were concerned. This in itself was not a huge deal, except the closure, if you call it that, was not a very pleasant ending. I think I was hurt in my heart. It's not something I thought about much, but, when I did, the cost of lost opportunity made me sad. I think that's where the hurt came in.
As days turned into months, I think these happenings turned from hurt into resignation. I wasn't hopeful about future church involvement, to say it plainly. Keep in mind I met The Lord over 28 years ago, so this wasn't my first rough patch. But at the same time, it wasn't exactly like anything I'd been thru either. What I didn't realize is that this lack of hope was coming from what I think was a wound that was not healed. In my own mind, I suppose I thought it was something else, and probably couldn't have articulated why I felt this way if asked directly.
Here's the good part.
In my recent trip to Nicaragua, we were in a conference meeting where a young man who was born with birth defects that included having no arms and malformed legs, who wasn't expected to live past a few weeks, was giving his testimony. He is 23. I think his subject was overcoming depression, but I couldn't say for sure. If you have ever been in a foreign culture with a language you don't completely understand, you may know what it is like to withdraw from actively listening. This is the state I was in. I wasn't tuned in much because the rate of speech was too fast for me to follow. That's when it happened. The Lord touched my heart with healing of disappointment and lack of hope, and I didn't even know I needed a touch like this. Can I say, though, that I am so thankful that he did.
Immediately my outlook changed and hope returned to my heart. I don't know what all this means, but I know it's good, and I think it is important for a healthy perspective and fruitful involvement in local church life.
So many, I believe, are in the same place I was. Negative conclusions can leave us at a place of not going forward, and we can't go back. We can get stuck here, in between. Thank God for His touch of life and healing. And thankfully He acts upon us in love, even when we don't realize what's wrong or what needs to be done. For this I am thankful. If you think this may be you too, I pray for healing to come to you in Jesus' name.