Wednesday, February 6

Dealing with painful real life issues in house church

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.

Real families stick together through the good, bad, and ugly times. Real families stand up and fight for one another and don't abandon each other in the middle of crisis. Real families love one another and treat one another like, well...real family!  This is church. It isn't always pretty, but we are the redeemed, beloved Bride of Christ. The Chosen Ones. The ones He loves, heals, redeems, and restores. We, the church, are His eyes, ears, hands, and feet in today's broken world. We all need encourgement. We all need feedback. We all need one another when going through tough times.

Thank God for the church. I am glad to be part of churches like this one.

5 comments:

Greg said...

This is being the Church. This is what Jesus would do, suspend everything one of His is in pain. This is what being the Church is all about. This is real life without religious masks. Thank you for sharing this post.

Tim A said...

What an amazing teaching and worship time this was, with no Bible lecture are ceremony from a platform. A beautiful pattern for future trials was put on display so when you are no longer in this fellowship, the saints will know what to do. The whole gathering was an example to be followed that fulfilled God's instructions for His people.

John Nix said...

Thank you for posting this Guy. It communicates that there is no pretense in the real family of God. We all come as we are, and God shows his mercy and Grace on all of His children through his Son. I frequently think to myself that I am not worth nor do I deserve his goodness. But He does show his mercy and goodness ALL THE TIME. Guy, you message in this blog just brings out all the things I love about our Lord. Forgiveness, help in time of trouble. A lot of things! Thanks again, and God continue to bless your service.

J. Guy Muse said...

Greg, Tim, and John,

Thanks to each of you for the comments. This is a story in progress. Since writing, a lot of prayer has gone up for Rosa and her family. God has answered our prayers and things have begun to turn around for the good with this family. I would ask each of you to just stop and pray that God's perfect will be accomplished in each of their lives as He continues to do his marvelous work of redemption.

Aussie John said...

Guy,

Now that's what I call a church IN service, loving one another in the reality of life.