This year I completed 12 years in the church that I came into knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Having born in an orthodox family, we only followed rituals and accepted struggles, in the view that God is pleased to make us go through worst. But diving more into the Word I realized, yes, there is a furnace phase; but there is a battle phase too; where we overcome and not succumb.
I have only learned and grown to understand that my relationship with God depends on none, not my parents, not my partner, not my child and not anyone I associate with in this church. It depends on me and me alone. We cannot blame anyone to why we have issues with Christianity; because no one set the standard except Christ. If we are true and committed Christians; we look to none, but Jesus.
Even through all the losses in 2019, I am immensely grateful for my church. Because, it helped me lean closer to God like never before!
For all the love and for all the provocations…
For all the prayers and for all the judgments…
For all the reaching outs and for all who ignored…
For all the flattery and for all the genuineness…
For all the hurt with the truth and for all the ears that heard my trashy outbursts; I am immensely wowed at how this God works all of these together, to continue shaping me to His likeness.
We not only need people who love us immensely but those who reject us also. We need, not just people who show us favor; but also people who puts us down time to time. Most times, the people who portray both the extreme opposites are the same. We need unpretentious folks as well as hypocrites. The valleys make us know the Presence of God; and the mountaintop helps us to carry out His purposes with influence and humility.
It is the two sides of life that shape us to transformation. With people that stand with us like a rock; we get to see the faithfulness of Christ. With people that talk and low us down; we get an opportunity to love them just like Jesus lavishes His love on US everyday. With people that have been genuine beyond the captions of insta-pics; we get to experience the aptness of His gifts. With people that are hypocrites (this could well be our perception); we get a chance to learn how to be true with our lives (without slandering them). For it is always better to GIVE than to receive from man.
Remember that every person is subject to change by the touch of the Holy Spirit. So, the people that have been the reason for your pain, hurt and tears today or in the last one year; can be the reason for the brightest blessings in 2020 and ahead. So let’s be very careful when we write-off. Let’s be very careful when our judgments are utter condemnation. Let us be very careful to not take irrevocable decisions based on transient circumstances.
For all the ups and downs we as a church family has gone through; God has been immensely faithful to hold us together. For all that our Senior Pastor has done tirelessly, God has kept him hearty and sound. His family sticks by him, even when everything cries out in them to back out. For all that our worship team has been through they still don’t fail to burst out that alabaster jar. For all the ushers who sweat it after cleaning and arranging the chairs; still don’t fail to greet people with the smile from Heaven. For all the administrators who haven’t been affirmed enough and rightly, still don’t fail to diligently do the best. For all those that hurt; still don’t fail to share love. For all those who left us; never fails to be real. For all those who have taken the blame even when it wasn’t your fault; God is surely applauding. For all those who haven’t been apologized to, for the hurt someone in the family caused; genuine apologies; you are important to us; you matter in the Body of Christ, and let the Holy Spirit affirm you that He is JUST. Let our drawbacks not make you question God. For all those flaws; God has shown up as strength. For all those sins; God still keeps showing up as the Redeemer and Refiner. For all those who shared their homes; possessions; money and time even when they were going through severe challenges; hasn’t failed to understand that He is the exceedingly great reward. For all those night prayer members; for all those who fast; for all those chain prayers; for all those who show their tears to none; for all in the family who is afraid and think you are alone; for all the mission-hearted people and leaders; for all of you, who haven’t got opportunities; for all those who have been praying for so long for a breakthrough and have seen the light at the end of the tunnel yet; I hug you in my spirit and say; “thank you for holding on”. Jesus will never ever fail.
So let us, as family, church join our hearts to Jesus in loving and forgiving one another just like He forgave Let us hunger more for the Lord and refuse to be satisfied with fleeting pleasures. Let us grow more into spiritual maturity in 2020 to experience peace that transcends understanding. As we step in, let us take moments in our prayer time to thank God for people that are in our fellowship every week. Thank God for all of them who stand by our pastors and serve God with single-hearted devotion. Because, His sovereignty has a way of taking everything mediocre and ugly and making them beautiful. In the end, it’s never about any of us; it’s about Him. It is about an entire body of Christ. So let us shed off all the self-attention we have flooded ourselves with; and embrace another layer of His selflessness. Let’s count the miracles of 2019 and vaporize the pain with the heat and aroma of thanksgiving.
To my Church; we are just a drop in the ocean and may we do well enough to carry out our purposes to please God’s heart. Body of Christ; lets rise to never to encourage favoritisms. Because, God doesn’t have favorites. When you think you are standing; be there for someone who is falling. When you are celebrating; pick a few who are going through the valley. When you are blessed; go be a blessing; even if people term it as “show off”. Love people enough to empty them off envy; doubts; fears; bitterness; and rage.
Let’s grow up understanding that our closets stink more than anyone could imagine. God, still reaches out with love. Speak the truth to offend the lies our brothers and sisters believe in; with love. Love without truth is hypocrisy; and truth without love is legalism.
Holy Spirit, take over each of our seconds, days and months this year 2020.
For all those who read this and have given their life to Christ, I urge you do not be a loner Christian. Go find a home and serve that house. For all of you, who have no mentors, go find one because you always have to have someone in leadership to hold you accountable. For all of you who have left your churches and leaders because of offenses and hurt; I urge you that you ask God to change your perspective about a church being perfect. Let the Holy Spirit guide you to serve the house you are in, with all of your heart, irrespective of what you feel-like. Let God enable you to stay committed to a leader who feeds you manna from the throne of Grace. Let 2020, be a year where we realize broadly that leaders out there are humans, children of God who are also work-in-progress. Just like Caleb and Joshua respected an angry Moses; just like Hannah who humbled herself before a priest that had no clue to correct his own children; just like a faithful Timothy to Paul; may we also follow, not the easier but the holier road.
– Neethu Ann Mathew –