May 7, 2018

Rejoicing in misery?

Our 130-year-old church is being closed.

This isn’t for lack of love or money, interest or prayer, but for lack of children, lack of growth, and an increasing lack of members as people die off or leave our retirement area to go into assisted living.

We’ve prayed. We’ve pleaded with authorities in our denomination, which will remain unnamed as this situation is reportedly happening in many other denominations as well.

We’ve written letters. We’ve passed around a heavily signed petition in hopes of keeping our doors opened, and we’ve failed.

This became apparent yesterday after worship service followed by an emotionally-wrenching 3-hour meeting with church decision-makers. So, when today’s Bible verses from Bible Gateway told us to rejoice, I did a double-take!

No, we have not been rejoicing, but oh, what joy we’ve had in Christlike fellowship with one another for a blessedly long time! What we must remember now is that, even though our church home will soon be a thing of the past, the need for deliberate, concentrated, consecrated rejoicing is ever-present and meant to go on and on.

We have been praying for God’s will to be done, but we haven’t wanted to give up. And so, what we must remember now is the need to relinquish to God our wants, our loving family, our presence in the community, and our heritage, knowing that we can trust God to take care of us. Regardless how grieved or frustrated we are, we can choose to let go of the past and thank God for this present day and the ever-amazing presents of Christ Jesus, which He surely gives.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says it all:

Keep on rejoicing!
Keep on praying!
No matter what happens
thank God,
for this is God’s will
concerning you
in Christ Jesus

Amen. So be it.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018, prayer-a-phrased these Bible verses from many of the translations found on Bible Gateway.

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