From the Inside Out
Your light will shine when all else fades
Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart
Is to bring You praise
From the inside out
Lord, my soul cries out
— Hillsong United, “From the Inside Out”
I’m hurt and I’m hurting. I’ve been hurt by people in churches before because, well, we are sinful creatures and that’s what happens. While I recognize that, there’s a certain amount of faith and trust that you place in your church leadership. Sometimes, that faith and trust seem to make them infallible in your mind. So when lousy news comes your way, it can be devastating.
2015 has been a year of significant downs rather than ups. Not just in my personal and work life but also in my spiritual life. For most of the year, my family has not attended church. There’s always been something going on, whether it’s an injury, depression, lack of sleep, or early nap time for the little man. But we’ve attended when we’ve been able to. However, of course, when I either make plans to attend church or have just attended church, an earth-shaking event occurs. In August, it was the departure of an elder and his wife—people we were close to and related to most. In September, nearly 3 weeks later, another elder resigned out of dissatisfaction with the choices of our denomination. That left 2 elders and—honest to God—I don’t know how many deacons. Now, it’s November. And we finally make it to church. There was a big meeting 2 weeks ago and I figured it regarded the position of the remaining elders. Boy, was I ever wrong.
My senior pastor resigned during the meeting. I had planned to attend but ended up working late and just didn’t feel up to it. Now, I’m glad I wasn’t there because I don’t think I could’ve handled the shock of what I would’ve heard. It was a big enough shock for me simply hearing it from another church member in nursery. And that wasn’t even in full detail. One of the elders sat us down after church and explained what happened during the meeting and what led our senior pastor to resign.
All day Sunday, I found myself simply reeling from the shock of no longer having a senior pastor to turn to. It’s like someone I put faith in and trusted for 3 to 4 years broke that trust. So, of course, I too feel broken. Hurt. I hoped I’d never have to go through this again after the pain of what I endured at my last church. As I go through my mind, with each previous church, there’s been an element of pain and broken trust. Why should the present or the future be any different? But I feel as though I need to hope for the best. Funny how I can hope for the best in a church full of sinful people but fail to hope for the best in my own life, a person full of wickedness and sin.
I pray for the restoration of my former senior pastor and his family. I pray for my church because I love my congregants dearly and hope that we are able to survive this storm. I thank God for our sister church in Philadelphia that is willing to help us during this time of need. And I thank God that He is faithful to us even when our shepherds are not.