So, Pastor Sam over there at “My Only Comfort,” wrote a post that every pastor, elder, well everyone really, should read called, “An Introduction.”
Gosh, that just made me cry! I’m going to be teary for days. My heart is kind of shattered now, but shattered in the best way possible. Good job, Sam. Well done.
My story is all over in his words, but there has been so, so much healing over the years. God is so good to us, He is the Great Physician for a reason. But what really jumped out at me, what still triggers me sometimes, what isn’t 100% healed yet, are some things related to the church. So Sam’s words are affirming to me in a personal way and I’m going to tell you that he really nailed it beautifully.
By the time he got to, “But you didn’t meet her,” I was already a wreck. Boy, people tend to love their Marthas, pastors tend to love their Marthas! But they never really see us, they never really meet us, they have no idea who we even are. It’s human nature for us to just do triage, to rally around the one in a noisy crisis right in the middle of the room, but to never see those quietly bleeding out in the corner, while likely also serving their 5th week of consecutive nursery duty.
Hagar got lost in the wilderness, lost in the drama of people, and finally met the God who sees her. “She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Me too! Hagar by the way, was a victim of Christians, an Egyptian servant used and cast out when she no longer served their purposes. In fact, she was hated, perhaps because she reminded them of their own sin, their own lack of faith? Sarah is often held up as a good example of Christian womanhood. Think about that one for a moment.
Sam writes, “She is carrying in her heart an unspeakable burden, which she has never shared with anyone. And she certainly won’t with you.”
Yes. So many of us have major trust issues. We don’t trust you, and often for good reason. But then he nails the second part of that issue really well, “She doesn’t think you can handle the darkness that is inside and know what to do with it.”
Yeah. I sometimes call us churchians “the beautiful people.” We speak of things like “total depravity” but we don’t really believe in it. We think everyone is from a middle class, two parent family, living the dream on a TV sitcom. Even if we know it isn’t true! Even if it isn’t true of our own lives. Denial is just a powerful drug. We love our masks in the church, our illusions, our bubbles, our false belief that people only experience bad things as a result of their own bad choices. As if to say, since I only make good choices, I’m now safe from all the bad things that might afflict others.
I reminded of the woman at the well, the one who, “met a man who knows me.” Those of us who have been unseen, not heard, not known for so long, can really hear the miracle in her words, the awe, the wonderment. “Could this be the Savior?” It’s as if she is saying, because I assure you, no ordinary man would ever bother to get to know me and to see me like this….
“She doesn’t think you can handle the darkness that is inside and know what to do with it.”
I once wrote about hoading pastors like a depression era survivor hoards paper towels. It’s true too, to this day I always keep a good dozen pastors in the wings, least I break one and need a replacement. That’s a somewhat amusing analogy and pastor hoarding is not a bad affliction to have at all. Good pastors are like good food, you can never have too much. I’m just saying, I seldom trust that people can handle the darkness and know what to do with it.
Jesus CAN handle the darkness and He DOES know what to do with it. Those of us who serve Him have to put our faith in Him, have to trust that there is nothing He hasn’t seen and nothing He can’t totally transform and make beautiful.
Today my concern is not for people in the church who have suffered so much darkness, but more so for those who have suffered little. They tend to have an insensitivity, a hard heart, a blindness as to the Lord’s suffering, and His genuine power to save, redeem, and heal.