In my early 20’s I moved away for college. In 1996 I moved back to Ohio after living most of the early 90’s in Virginia. There was a point where I remember thinking I did NOT want to come back to my home town in Podunk-USA. But God wanted me here and through a series of circumstances I came home.
And so I began attending my home church again, but I felt alone. I can remember standing in that long hallway between the auditorium door and the way out of the building longing to leave. I didn’t feel like staying there. I had spent most of my life in this church and it had gone through various changes over the years and so had our family. After being away most of the previous five years I didn’t have any close friends there that I can remember, now thinking back. I now felt the need for new faces, a new church and so I left. That is, for about three Sundays.
After running into some teaching I questioned at one church I had been visiting- the church I felt I might want to join I came back to my own.
You see, there was nothing doctrinally wrong at my church and they were doing the work of the church- teaching the bible verse by verse, they were involved in missions and discipleship. Just like Jesus says to do in Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. …” I didn’t have any real reason for leaving other than I was…
But these are all “people” problems that can be found anywhere there are “people” present. And not just “other people’s” problems but problems within our own hearts. Mine in this case. I say that because – whether or not anyone at that church really cared about me or at least was willing to show that care, my response [to how I perceived my surroundings] was still my responsibility.
Personally, I think you can overcome these obstacles if you are willing to have patience, seek God’s perspective through his word, and have the right attitude- and oh yeah, be willing to humbly work on having good relationships with others. There’s no way around it. That last one is a two-way street.
Leaving a church that is right-on-the-money doctrinally and doing its God-given job is a treasure to have. Especially as we are living in the last days. If the foundation is right there is hope for the rest to be fixed. That is, if everyone is willing, of course. Even Christians fail here; you see it when one spouse chooses not to fix a broken marriage or one person is not willing to forgive another and clings to a grudge. Pride is one big nasty crowbar. It will tear apart anything it can.
So I decided to continue attending my church. But, then.
Really, Lord, do I need this? Now the Lord wanted me to do more than that. There was something else .
…to be continued.
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