We went to church this evening. As we were walking in, we could tell it was the same message as this morning. This church is very large (for us). The room sits well over 2,000. When we walked in, most of the areas had been cordoned off with curtains. This morning’s message was playing on the very large video screens. My normal action would be too sit in the very back, just like we did this morning. Uh-uh. All of those seats were taken. We sat way up front.
After we sat, I almost immediately wrote a text on my phone and showed it to her. “You ready to leave?” She just nodded no. Ok, we’ll listen to it again. This time I heard the entire message. Earlier I had missed a few things.
If God is so big, why am I still struggling? What do you do when God is absent from your problems? God has made a promise to us. A lot of people stop pursuing God when the don’t see immediate progress with their problems or movement towards God’s promise. They stop just before they get to the promised land.
1. Our problems block the promise. Satan puts walls up in our lives to keep us from seeing God’s promise. He puts those walls up because he fears us. He fears us because God has made a promise to us.
2. Progress is not always displayed. When God told Joshua how to bring the Jericho walls down, he obeyed. Joshua gave his soldiers their orders. Those soldiers carried them out. For 6 days they mar shed around the walls. Nothing happened. No bricks came out, no shaking, nothing. The soldiers kept obeying their orders.
3. The process is open-ended. When you run a race you can see that you’re making progress. You see that you’ve traveled somewhere. But what if you don’t see that any progress has been made? THAT is when people stop the race. Sometimes God is just saying, “Shut up and keep marching.” Wow. I heard those words this morning and they broke my spirit. this evening, those same words brought it back together.
I wasn’t listening this morning. When the pastor said, “I wish I could say that God will jump into action just because you obeyed Him one time. God will not intervene in your marriage just because you obeyed Him once. Life isn’t like that.” I hadn’t heard that part.
What. The. Hell!?
I had just spent MY ENTIRE day bitching about this. I FINALLY OBEY GOD AND WHAT DO I GET!?!? I DIDN’T GET ANYTHING!
Hey, umm, God? Yeah….ummm…I screwed this one up pretty good.
I leaned over to my wife. “I get it.” She looked over and smiled. I think she got it too. “I didn’t hear the whole thing today. I obeyed God one time and nothing happened. JUST like he said would happen. I have to keep obeying Him.” She smiled again.
It’s odd. On the way to church we discussed this morning. I mentioned how hurt I was…she knew. “I will never put myself in that position again.” “what would you have liked them to pray for this morning?” I wasn’t sure. “I don’t want to be the spiritual leader of our home. I don’t know what that means. How do I find out?” “I don’t know?” “I just know I’ll never do that again.”
The pastor for the evening gave the altar call. I didn’t answer this time. I listened to the guy wrap everything up. It was over. As we got up, she asked “Are you going to go talk to him?” This was the same guy that, this morning, talked to us when we went to the front. “What am I supposed to talk to him about? Yeah…ok.” I chased him down.
I tapped his shoulder and asked to talk with him. Right in the middle of the church, I explained what happened this morning. “Wow! That never happens. But it did, it happened to you.” We talked for several minutes. Finally he asked, Can I pray for you?” “Sure.” “What would you like me to pray for?” I looked over at my wife and asked her to come over. I told him. I told him that I don’t know what it means to be the spiritual leader of my home, that I have an addiction I’m trying to beat. I asked him to pray for those things.
It was such a crazy evening. As soon as we heard the message again, we knew why we ended up going back. We knew we were supposed to hear it again. I really don’t know if she got anything out of the evening. I did. I felt a whole new hope. Kind of like I might be able to beat things…with God’s help. I also feel like my marriage might actually turn into something pretty cool. Almost like God has a plan or something.