This may offend some, and if you are one who takes offense — please accept my dearest apologies.
First I will make completely clear: I LOVE when we have more people come to church. I LOVE when new people come, old people come back, and seeing the regulars worshipping and learning alongside me. It’s beautiful, truly it is.
Ever have that ONE person that you try to forget you ever invest so much as a minute in? That ONE person that you feel stupid for trusting because they turned out to be exactly what they said they stand against? That ONE person who betrayed you in a way you didn’t expect and really couldn’t handle?
Now imagine that person invades your personal space, your SAFE PLACE. I don’t know where your safe place is — be it a park, your garden, the gym, a basketball court, the football field, your bedroom, your favorite tree, etc. For me, my safe place is in the arms of my Creator. For me, my church is like the sidewalk leading up to my safe place. It shows me the way, guides me to safety.
Okay, so tonight that person who I just wanted to avoid and forget I ever invested any of my time in invaded the avenue to my safe place. There I was, worshipping my Creator amidst a group of my peers when I look over see him. Sitting there. Right there blocking my safe place.
Imagine how awkward. Could I focus? Pfft! Not at all. I know there was something about being bold and being different and being proud of acceptance in Christ. I heard that from the message, but the details are fuzzy. I was occupied with willing myself to: a) not freak out, and b) try to ignore this intruder.
Out of the dozens of churches in this city, of course he would choose mine. Of course. That’s just how life goes. But really? I know there is noone that can separate me from God — noone has that power. It just doesn’t help focus to have someone blocking my path to Him, especially in His own house. I know I should want him to be there at my church (because I know how awesome it is), but I wanted him anywhere but there.
If you’re like me and your safe place (or what leads to it) has been invaded, attacked, or taken over, just take heart in fact that God never changes and is always your safety. It’s Him or nothing. When something or someone tries to block your path to Him, run faster, fight harder, and don’t succumb to seemingly overwhelming or uncomfortable circumstances. God is able and He is willing. Seek Him earnestly and you will never be without a safe place.
On an ending note, know that I said a prayer for that person. I pray that he is blessed in life. I pray that things go well for him. I pray that he learns to live by his words and treat people rightly. But I also pray for DISCIPLINE for him in the most holy of forms. Prayer is power, after all.