The blue doors in the picture are at the funeral home where our church meets. We’ve been there over a year now. Before that we gathered at two different schools, and in our living room. Each location has met our general need of a place to worship, but our congregation is more than ready to throw open the doors to our own church building.
To this end we’ve started a building campaign called “Healing Hearts.” We’ve named it this for a couple of reasons:
- People all around us are struggling, and in need of a safe community to have their hearts gently restored by the transformational truth of the gospel. To be a hospital for the broken is a mission of our church.
- Without a “home,” Redeemer is limited in the ways we can serve. A building would encourage and renew our own hearts, and enable us have a greater impact in the community.
Nine years of not having our own place though and riding the ups and downs of church planting has made it hard to get our hopes up that anything will ever change. We wrestle with “why,” and wonder if and when he will build his church. “How long, O Lord,? Will you forget me forever? (Psalm 13:1)”
It’s easy to shake our heads at the Israelites’ impatient grumbling and lack of faith, until we realize we’re no different. Forty years of sojourning for them, and I’m just talking nine! But we want the instant, don’t we?
Nobody likes to wait for anything, and in our culture we often don’t have to. How quickly then we become disappointed, discontent and depressed when things don’t go as we want- when we want. We blame God for withholding goodness because we think our ways are better than his. Adam and Eve thought so too.
What’s amazing is though we try (as did they) to usurp God’s control, his loving-kindness never ceases. In fact, it is in the trials, suffering and sin we see more of God’s goodness displayed.
Exactly where God is going in Deuteronomy 8:2 when we learn why the Israelites were led into the wilderness…
And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart…”
The testing was to expose their sin, weakness and need to depend on him every step of the way. And with the purpose of showing them how deep his love. Despite their sin, God never left them or went back on his promises, but held them tight and delivered them at his appointed time into the Promised Land.
Had they not seen their tendency to grumble and complain, try to take control, and turn to false gods, surely what he did for them would not have been so great.
So it makes me think, had we gotten a church building and grown exponentially right off the bat, would we see our need of dependence? Would we look to the gospel alone to heal hearts? Or, would we think more highly of ourselves, thinking we are strong? Would we have taken for granted his goodness? Would we turn to him in prayer?
I still don’t like waiting. But if the Christian life is about falling more in love with Jesus, and doing so requires seeing our need, God’s goodness to us surely comes in the waiting. So, Lord, help me wait in light of the promises of your Word so discontent would give way and the doors of thanksgiving be flung wide.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, ‘His steadfast love endures forever.’ Let the house of Aaron (and of Redeemer) say, ‘His steadfast love endures forever.’ Let those who fear the Lord say, ‘His steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 118:1-4