Processing Pain   3 comments

I am aware that I have not written for a long time and I honestly think there are many reasons for that, some I understand and others I don’t yet. One is the doubt that I can adequately put into words some of the things that are on my heart. The struggle to engage my own pain and heartache over all that has transpired, alongside the devastating effects on our church community, has at least been part of my reluctance to write.

 Our church has just taken our traditional 21 days to pray and fast over the coming year. Our focus has been learning to lament, to confront pain and sorrow not in a casual way, moving on to the next thing as soon as possible, but by staying in the difficult places longer than is comfortable. This often allows God to show us things in the pain that we maybe have not seen before. Some of these may prompt us to repent or others may give us a new understanding of God’s call on us or love for us. One of the painful things God has shown us is where our relationships as a community have not been what we had hoped and our commitment to each other, more fragile than we knew. We are learning that the painful and difficult experiences that we skip past and put under the carpet, create unseen obstacles to commitment in community.

As I have pondered and lamented these realities and shared them with others, there has been growing conviction that God wants to take us deeper in our relationship with Him and each other; that God is asking us to engage with conflict and do the hard work of working through our difficulties as a family. We do this in the hope that we might find healing rather than division. This will, in turn, enable us to model this for the deeply divided community in which we have been planted.

Over recent months two things have been said to me multiple times in one form or another. They have stuck in my mind returning over and over to haunt me. One is “ I am getting all I need from…” and the other is  “I don’t like… so I am not going to engage with it.” As I have pondered these approaches it has struck me how much they represent our culture’s intensely individualistic approach to our faith. In them, I see how they have significantly weakened our communities of faith.  Is it only what “I need” as an individual that decides how I participate in the body of Christ? Might it not be this is simply a time when I need to give in order that the faith of others might be strengthened? If I don’t “like this” maybe I need to look at why, or possibly “this” is something I have learned in the past, and now is my chance to share and encourage others. rather than always expecting to receive. 

The deepening and strengthening of our church community will only happen when each of us is deeply and passionately concerned with the welfare of each member; when our walk with Jesus together is as important as our personal walk with Him. Exactly how does this happen and what does a church look like that reflects these priorities? I don’t know but I am committed to seeking the Father’s face together and working with every other member of the church family to find out. 

Posted January 22, 2022 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

3 responses to “Processing Pain

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  1. Thank you.

  2. Thank you Jonathan! I personally believe that members of the church community have allowed the evilness in this world to cloud their judgement which in turn has taken their focus off of Christ. And in doing so, separation has occurred.

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