This post makes more sense if you take into account that the name of this blog used to be, “The Church Agitator.” God moves us to different places as we grow. I’m in a different place now than I was then. There’s a story behind that if you want to read it.
I have to admit, I thought that, at some point, Jesus would make my life easier. I thought that I might reach this point of enlightenment where he gave me so much knowledge and spirituality that I just didn’t need any more. And then other people would flock to me because I was like the Solomon of our time. What a bunch of bullcrap.
My wife and I keep coming back to the topic of “why not leave” because we sometimes feel like we’re withering up on Sunday mornings. A friend who’s a pastor describes churches like ours best: our Sunday morning is a hundred miles wide and three inches deep. It’s frustrating because I feel like my personal study challenges my thinking so much, actually causing disruptive growth in my spiritual life, but then Sundays are kind of self-help sessions connected to the greatest hits from the New Testament.
I keep saying things to my wife which disagree with one another. “I want to leave.” “We need to stay.” “We’re no good here.” “We can do something important here.” She’s used to it, I guess, because we’ve been together for over a decade and it’s not like my mind has ever made sense. But then I read stuff from Acts, I see what a swirling maelstrom their first days in the early church must have been. When they weren’t being beaten, they were winning people to Jesus in amazing numbers. Then they started giving things away. There’s no logical flow other than following the spirit.
Christians have never really done well in power. I know that we’re trying to get believers in politics because we see that influencing the landscape of government could have some wide-ranging effects on the country, but I don’t see Jesus running for office. I don’t see Paul going and building some huge cathedral so people come to him. Christians finally owned Europe and then spent their energy on the Crusades, fighting wars instead of loving their neighbors. We don’t need power, because it’s totally contrary to what Jesus was trying to achieve. He ran from crowds. He intentionally confused people. He let people die when they begged for his help.
Maybe making us happy isn’t the thing that God is out to do, even if we claim to belong to him. Read Job lately? God let Satan destroy Job, and when Job went to God, God basically told him to quit whining.
Maybe God puts unhappy people in churches because they keep the saints from being too comfortable. I feel like that’s where I’m standing right now. Getting happy might not be of great benefit to the body, but maybe if we stay just unhappy enough, we can be a part of a revival. I really hope so.
Listen, fellow agitators: I know it’s rough following your heart. I know we all ache for resolution and sometimes we feel like all we’re doing is fighting. Keeping your motives pure when they’re tied to you opinion is HARD. Keep yourself out of it. Listen to the spirit. Live in the word. Keep talking.
I don’t enjoy being miserable, but I would rather be unhappy for the rest of my life than think I wasted a fire that God put in me. If he puts it there, it IS of benefit. Being comfortable and agreeable may win you some friends, but you might not be doing your job.