A few months ago we were sitting around in a house church gathering when one of our sisters in Christ received a call on her mobile phone from her incoherent drunk husband. Our sister (we'll call her Rosa) was frantic because her two small children were with her husband and he wasn't faring well with them under the influence of the alcohol.
The bad part was Rosa did not know where her husband was living. They were separated. And Rosa could hear her scared children crying in the background. We finally managed to get someone on the line who could give us directions to the house. Rosa asked us to pray for her as she had to go get her children. After doing so, my wife accompanied Rosa to help get the children back to safety.
Upon arrival, Rosa saw that there was another woman at the house with her husband--something she had long suspected--but until that moment, had no actual proof. She confronted her husband about having an affair and he was forced to confirm the fact. Rosa's husband then began to get hysterical and told her to "get the _ _ _ out of there!" Rosa and my wife brought the kids back to the house where the church was praying. Needless to say, they were in bad shape upon arrival. What do you say to someone in their moment of shock, bewilderment, anger, and grief? How do you explain things to those innocent children whose world is being torn apart?
As we gathered around Rosa we asked her how she felt. She opened up and through tears running down her face shared her raw feelings. It wasn't pretty. We, again, prayed over her and affirmed who she is in Christ, and to not let Satan further beat her up with his lies. We tried to express to her how much she is loved by God and us, her family in Christ.
After talking a while, Rosa asked if we thought it was a good idea she talk to her children about all that had happened. Up until then she had been "covering" for her husband and had not told them anything that was really going on. We affirmed her idea saying we thought it would be a good thing. Mind you, all of this is taking place during the regular "church service."
At that point we gave Rosa a few minutes to collect herself, and then called her children into the living room. Rosa bravely shared for the first time with them the truth about what what had been going on and why dad was no longer living with them. I thought she did a wonderful job of balancing the pain, while at the same time affirming that both parents loved them, and that they were not at fault for anything that had happened. We gave some time for the children to talk and ask their questions as well. Then all of us huddled around the family for another time of prayer.
Why do I share this? Because real life can be very messy. Pain is real. Believers are not exempt from bad things happening to them. Church is more than a nice service, a challenging message, or great worship. It is being a family together on mission with Christ to redeem a broken and sick world with the Good News.
Thank God for the church. I am glad to be part of churches like this one.