|There is Hope Ahead|
There was a time in our new ministry when a group of folks at the church we were at wanted us to leave. They could not state any biblical reason why my husband shouldn't be pastor. We had some rough edges being new in the ministry, and needed to grow and learn - but I think it basically boiled down to - they didn't like us. The previous pastor had been there 20 years and he and his wife were dearly loved and good people. Worship was comfortable the way it was and any small change by us was not welcome.
There was much backbiting about us, complaining and gossip. Someone started a a rumor that I'd been married before (I have not). They even took issue because my husband (the pastor) dared to wear white socks with dress shoes while on the platform-how unprofessional! He's allergic to the dye in colored socks and it was the week following a 6 day revival. His feet were all red and itchy, and bleeding in spots - and *gasp* - he chose to wear white socks. So the next night - he put on white socks and black dress socks over them so he wouldn't be a stumbling block. That's when I realized how idiotic the battle was and my temper flared.
It was a small faction of nay-sayers making a very loud noise. The flesh in me wanted to stand up and tell everyone off. I wanted to start pointing out the flaws in their lives and tick off the imperfections. What was happening wasn't right and was hurting my family, children included. My husband had the 'nerve' to tell me we just needed to pray for these people. I just wanted to do battle! Dish it out the way they were. It did not seem fair or right, I wanted to cast the first stone! No - I'm not without sin - but I hoped just this once Jesus might make an exception.
It was when I was driving home from work a short time later (I had a 30 minute commute) that I heard a radio message given by Dr. David Jeremiah on this scripture from 2 Chronicles 20:17
"Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves,stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you."
I started weeping. It was as tho' God spoke those words at that very moment just for me. "Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: SET YOURSELVES (WAIT), Stand ye still." Stand ye still-it was not our battle. This battle was the Lord's! I pulled the car over and called my husband. I told him to turn on the radio. I sat listening to the message feeling the weight of the past months falling from my shoulders and the bitterness leaving my heart. If this was the Lord's battle then of course He would win! If this was the Lord's battle no one could stand against Him. If this was the Lord's battle ----I began to feel sorry for the other people, because they were battling against God. I remember shivering at that thought, and I asked the Lord to awaken these people to the evil that Satan was doing. Satan after all was the one wreaking havoc. He was the one handing fiery darts to the people.
I won't go into details here - but God had the victory and it was AMAZING to watch Satan's trickery revealed. We stood still and prayed and we saw the salvation of the Lord. We stood still and prayed and saw God moving. We stood still and prayed - and saw a cleansing. Branches were pruned and new fruit began to grow. 15 years later we are still here and our church is involved in a fair ministry that has seen over 4000 salvations in the last 4 years.
Without the battle the fruits would not be so sweet. We have grown and our flock has grown spiritually in a desire to defeat Satan and build God's kingdom.
Was it easy to 'Set ourselves' (wait)? No. Was it easy to 'Stand Still'? No. Was it easy to wait while the Lord did battle? No, I kept wanting to give Him advice. (Hey - I'm just being honest, you can quit snickering.) If God graded me on Waiting and Standing Still during those events I probably would have received a D-, a barely passing grade. But He was tolerant of my impatience. One of my favorite verses through that time became Romans 5:3-5 "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Have there been more trials in the church? Of course - we're only human. The only perfect church is an empty one because it doesn't have a person in it. But now, we have experience. Whether for us if it's been health problems, financial, family, jobs, or heartache, experience has taught us to 'Stand Still and Wait.' God's way is much better than our way. (And yes, I still have to remind myself of that.)
Do you have a trial you are going through? I would like to pray for you. Please leave a comment and feel your needs lifted up to God by someone who has been there.
Other Posts In The "Waiting On God" Series