Monday, April 30, 2007

Sailing to Tarshish

I wanted to write light yesterday. I wanted to type with a smile on my face. I wanted to hear Stuart chuckle as he read. I kept an eye out for a one-act comedy taking place within the interactions of the day. There was none. There were tears...tears from fighting children...but mostly they were mine. The manna for this post didn't come until after I had gone to bed. It isn't light.

Stuart and I sensed God calling us to the church that we are a part of almost as soon as we arrived. We joined, eyes wide open to its health. Months passed. We began to question. Is this really where God wants us? What difference can we make? We have been praying but His Spirit has been silent. We knew we had been called to work here but yesterday, like Jonah, we set sail in search of a healthier church. We didn't go to Tarshish. We went across the street.

As soon as we had made the decision to wander God's spirit began to move. A feeling of oppression and unease settled over the car. We sat in the parking lot. Faith was the prophet bringing God's message. "I don't want to go here! I want to see Miss Shirley! I want to see Miss Shirley!" We, like the kings of old, ignored the prophet and went in.

The Sunday School lesson was on the workings of the Holy Spirit. The teacher didn't have much of a grasp on the topic. I, sitting under that uneasy cloud, did. The lesson dissolved easily into gossip. The pastor delivered a message straight from the pages of The Purpose Driven Church. A man with purpose preaching to a church that could not comprehend his message.

We went home. I couldn't think clearly enough to put lunch on the table. I cried. Lauren made lunch. The kids ate out back at a table set up in the shade. Stuart and I ate in the sunroom and discussed our options. Stuart has been more resolved than I. He wants to stay where we are and share what we know about healthy churches. I'm a leaver. I want to leave.

Disobedience can bring exhaustion. Like Jonah, I slept...all afternoon. When I woke up, I understood that we were not to run away. The cloud lifted.

And so we stay. Stuart and I...timid Moses and questioning Gideon... stay to encourage, to pray, to confront. We wonder what God will do.

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