I think most of us have had a few bad church experiences. Some are worse than others. Some people never set a foot in a place of worship again until they’re dead. This must really anguish the Lord. One of my sayings is, “We’ve got to be better than the bar.” I mean, I have got to find more support, love and encouragement in church than if I wore a too short mini-skirt and a too-tight tank top and bellied up to the bar with all my troubles and woes. It’s one of my finest sayings! 🙂 I never hung out much at bars and no one ever came up to give me a drink when I did but getting back to the point, it is so sad when people mess up God’s plans.
So I contemplate the word “wide” on Five Minute Fridays with a sense of trepidation. The word “wide” feels sad to me right now. Deep fissures have erupted in places that mean a lot to me. I don’t want to be too specific but if you know me and there is a pang in your heart as you read this, you have correctly identified one of the “wide” areas in my life. I pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance. Without the Lord, I’m sure to botch things and sadly still stumble even though Christ lives in my heart. I love the idea of how God’s forgiveness is “wide.” I even accidentally made a Guinea Pig Girl Doll to unintentionally demonstrate that. But I prefer closeness in most other aspects of my spiritual, emotional and physical life.
Many years ago, before I came to know Jesus, Mark and I were attending a church. Mark was on the “Board” at the church and they had monthly meetings. We got a new pastor and he said something one day in a sermon that offended me so much, I told Mark, probably during the service, I had it. I’m never going back to that church again. I didn’t care if he went or if he was on the board, Nate and I would never enter that church again. I meant it. I never did go back though I think I let Mark take our toddler with him a few times. Obviously, this created a lot of strife between the two of us and I never had closure. Eventually Mark left the church. It was awkward, I can’t remember if the pastor wanted to talk to us/me before the final departure. Regardless it never happened. Honestly I’m not sure if the pastor said the same thing now if it would tick me off given where I am with the Lord. I don’t think I made the right decision, I created the rift in a sense. The Hubs and I needed to be of one accord and we weren’t.
So this is what I pray, “Heavenly Father, could you fill this wide gap over here and the chasm over in this other place? You never disappoint and your ways are always true. Not with the spiritual equivalent of a gin and tonic but with something good and real and true? I pray this not only for myself but for the many I know and love who are also hurting. Amen.”