I woke up this morning absolutely delighted to see that once again I was about to enjoy above freezing temperatures in my northern hideaway. I was also excited to attend church, the Mile Zero Evangelical Fellowship (soon to be Gateway Ministries, or something along those lines).
When I first moved to Grimshaw I avoided this church like the plague. I had a negative encounter with one of their pastors at the elementary school and was convinced they were another super pushy evangelical church with no heart.
I was wrong, very wrong.
I’ve attended this church almost every Sunday since January and every stinkin’ time they make me cry. It wasn’t until today that I honestly couldn’t hold back my tears. These aren’t sad tears, they’re happy tears signifying life and joy. I know now more than ever that for the past year or so I’ve been mostly spiritually dead. I always knew that Christ and the church wasn’t something I ever wanted to give up, but I didn’t feel anything. No passion to get involved, no passion to do more. All I wanted to do was attend on Sunday, be a wall flower and leave again once the benediction had been presented.
Last week I had a tough conversation with Chad in which I realized “Who am I?” I told him I never wanted to be a wall flower and then almost immediately realized that is exactly what I had become.
Another conversation with Elise about struggles not uncommon to Christians our age made me think about why I didn’t want to face those struggles head on. Why was I ok with living in a way that was not God honouring? All the while telling Chad about the beautiful provisions of God’s love – something I perhaps was not believing wholeheartedly for my own life.
Today the pastor preached on Number 21:4 – 9. I don’t know about most of you, but I did not remember reading this passage and my mouth almost hit the floor at verse six.
“Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey, and they began to speak against God and Moses. ‘Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?’ they complained. ‘There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!’
“So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people and many were bitten and died.”
Wow. God certainly doesn’t mess around with punishment when his people are being ungrateful and giving in to the desires of the flesh. Last week I heard about Noah and how God was upset with humanity as a whole, and 120 years after commissioning Noah to build the ark, he wiped out everyone – started fresh.
The service was certainly powerful today. I know God wants me to die to my old self, lay down my hurts, give up my past and trust him to move me into a prosperous future. And I think my first step in trusting God and going along with his plan is heading back to the church at 6 a.m. tomorrow for a prayer meeting. Yup, they meet 6 a.m. on Monday mornings. Talk about brutal – but who ever said Christianity was convenient?
“Take delight in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4