September 22, 2017
“Friday’s child is loving and giving…”
“Mmmm…Good to the last drop!”
As I sat down here I thought I had something definite to say on a certain subject, but after listening to Debra Kerr sing that beautiful, warm song my determination seems to have gotten somewhat way-laid! However, I’ll try and press on, because the subject I have in mind to speak about is one that’s very important to me, personally.
Ever been treated badly by total strangers? It really is a “puzzlement!” when that happens, isn’t it? I mean, you’ve never met them, and vice-versa, so why are they being so rude to you, when all you did was walk into the room? You had been in a great mood prior to meeting up with the one type of person you never wanted to meet in this life–the dreaded nasty grump!
Well, what I plan on talking about in this blog has to do with something similar to that, but is even more of a “puzzlement!”–as well as downright heartbreaking when you are told that, due to seemingly asking “too many questions!”, someone tells you that you will not be allowed to take a class in order to learn about the Church you’ve longed to belong to since you were 18. The way to that dream had always seems elusive, but after that, it seemed impossible. However, this was the last time, or so you’d thought. You were finally going to go through with taking the classes, then actually becoming a full-fledged member! You still lived with some nagging trepidation about leaving one form of the Christian faith, and linking up with another one that was so looked down upon and despised by other fellow Christians.
However, in spite of all of the road blocks that seemed to jump out and in your way for decades, this time you were going to go through with it–after all, looking back over the decades, all the way back to when you were 18, and you honestly believed the Lord was the one behind your love for this particular denomination, this time you weren’t going to let anything come between you and finally finding the answers to what you fully believed to be the Lord’s calling–you still had some rather severe questions, yet you felt confident that, once asked, they would be answered satisfactorily, and they would then be out of the way once and for all.
Therefore, imagine how surprised you were to find out that it would be nothing of the sort, and that you would be banned from taking those catechism classes. Yet, that wasn’t the worst of it. The worst of it would be hearing a complete stranger ‘inform’ you that, due to you alone, your family had wanted nothing to do with you at all after your son’s death. That, from the lips of this complete stranger, you heard that you were to blame for all the strife that had come between you and this particular branch of your family, and that you really were ‘crazy’, and in need of being placed in a psychiatric institution–that you were a liar, who was so completely disruptive through the questions you’d asked about the faith you wished to belong to, that it had been ‘decided’ that you were not to be allowed to take those classes. Would you be shocked at hearing those lies about yourself coming from the lips of someone whom you’d never met in your life? Would you almost feel as though you were in an episode of “The Twilight Zone”, yet no one had told you about it? And, to make things worse, you weren’t even going to get paid for being in it!
So, there you sat on this gorgeous, sunny afternoon, mouth agape at hearing that type of ugly, gossipy nonsense coming out of the mouth of this Church official–the one who had invited you over to the Church via email, to speak to you–you had envisioned him to be someone in whom you could trust to help answer your questions. You had been expecting him to be kind, and helpful. Instead, guess what?! Plus, what he was saying about you he could not possibly have even come close to knowing unless he’d been speaking to others within that ‘branch’ of your family tree—you know, the ones who seemed to hate you for no good reason, and you could never figure out why–the ones who must be gossiping about you even with someone like this Church official whom you’d never met, nor heard of, until that fateful afternoon.
You heard the distortions, the outright lies, the twisted view of you that you recognized as needing to have it’s origin in someone who hated you far more than you ever thought possible in your life–yet, here the lies were being repeated back to you by this total stranger, as though they were all true, and that he’d believed every, single word of those damnable, baseless lies, and had sentenced you to ‘death’ without even so much as a trial! So, in complete shock at what this man is saying to you, and after he’d called you a liar to your face, when you’d tried to explain about the two priests who’s YouTube channel you’d come across, who had been behind why you’d asked what you did about ‘the seat of Peter’ being ‘vacant’–you had only needed someone to explain what in the world those two, apparently renegade, priests had been talking about–yet, there is this stranger suddenly telling you that you are lying, that there really had been no two priests, etc.!
Then, as you ask him if he’d actually read the emails that you’d written to the head of the class, asking him for his help in clearing up your questions, he exclaims that he has–yet, you could tell just from what he’d been saying that he had not read all of them–he’d stopped prior to reading the one in which you’d let the class instructor know that everything was ok, that you’d finally done enough research on your own so that your questions had been answered–but, the one who’s calling you this “Trouble-maker!” [his very words about you] is now sitting there, lying to you about having read them all! So, you quickly rise to your feet, mumble something about how you’re going to ‘stay a Lutheran!’, then you turn and walk out the door as fast as you can, and you call for your spouse to please come and pick you up–that you’ll be walking down the other side of that road, but you just feel this dire need to get off that Church’s property as quickly as your legs can carry you!
Ever have one of those days? Well, I pray you never have, nor ever will! It would break your heart, as well as freeze your mind in place, due to seeming so surreal! Your puzzlement would last for hours-in-to-days, with questions swirling through your head day and night. You demanded answers to be found among the facts of what you’d just been through, and you knew the answers were there, among those facts surrounding what happened. You simply needed to sift through it all to find them.
However, the worst thing of all is the fact that now you have been literally banned from taking those classes you needed so badly, as well as from having any of your concerns about conversion answered by those giving the classes–it seemed as though the way to converting had just been successfully blocked to you, and it shocked you to your very core! You realized that the story of your journey to joining that Church was a very long, and detailed one, and that you believed the Lord had been with you the entire way, helping you cope with disappointments, with misunderstandings, as well as with fears that would well up inside your heart due to the awful things that you’d been told about that Church by fellow believers. Yet, you had the memory of how you fully believed that the Lord Himself had helped you feel such love, and sense of belonging, for and with that particular denomination, way back when you were so young.
That He also was behind the love that welled up inside your heart each time you’d even think about that Church, and how you longed to be among it’s parish members, being able to finally feel like a part of the earthly family of Christ. Yet, you could never quite get there over the years, and the reasons are manifold, and even complicated. You’d never given up hope, though, that sooner or later He’d be able to help you overcome what stood in your way, so you could finally become a part of the Church you seemed to even love, without knowing a thing about it, so long ago.
Yet, in spite of everything you’d had to deal with that had kept you from becoming a member of that denomination, you’d still kept that hope alive–but, at that awful moment you realized that another obstacle had just landed between you and your dream, and this time it was far more serious than anything had ever been before. This time someone was telling you not only that you were ‘crazy’, but that you also were a liar, and worst of all–a “Trouble-maker!”–who was being forbidden the chance to become a member of that particular branch of the family of God and Christ. Now, what do you do?! How do you go about being able to clear your name, and ‘set the record straight’?! You are so traumatized over what happened that you can’t even think clearly, let alone make any plans to clear everything up. You see that your hopes and dreams about it all have suddenly landed at your feet after being tossed back into your face, and the shock, dismay and deep-down hurt seems like the end of the world, as though you’ll never be able to overcome things this time around. It’s all over.
Yet, you finally realize that, since:
“All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”[Romans 8:28 KJV]
That, even though things seemed about as bleak as they could ever be, you still had to remember the words of God within that verse, and trust the Lord had good answers for what had just happened, and that He would make it all work out for the best in the end.
So, you remember to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding”[Proverbs 3:5 KJV], in spite of wanting so desperately to find a way to clear things up somehow, and charge forward in your attempt to reach what has always been your goal. Yet, there you sit, so many years later, still haunted by what had happened that fateful afternoon, with still no answers in sight as to how to remedy the situation. You’re still considered a “Trouble-maker!” by the local Church, so going ‘over their heads’, and finding a way around it all by seeking out another Church in some other area within the state, or within a neighboring one, almost seems too, too daunting–and, the explaining that you know you would be facing all makes finding a path into the Church way too tough a ‘row to hoe’–you’ve already met with the world’s worst heartache after your son was killed in the war in Afghanistan, then having that particular ‘branch’ of your family seemingly reject you–how in the world does one overcome an obstacle as daunting as this hate filled slander?!
Also–could the Lord possibly be showing you that He has other plans for you, and they do not include your becoming a member of that particular denomination, no matter how much you’ve set your heart on doing so? If so, then why in the world did that love ever grow inside your heart the way it did, beginning back when you had even decided to be an atheist after encountering a persistent but sweet elderly lady who told you the Lord had told her to witness to you about Him? You didn’t want to be rude to such a sweet elderly lady, but you just couldn’t accept what she was telling you about Him, so you announced that you were going to become an atheist, so she would leave you alone–but, then, as you picked up the phone to call your mother, who was at work, you found yourself inexplicably saying to yourself, “Oh, is God ever going to be mad at me now!”, and then finding yourself ducking as though to miss an invisible smack against your noggin! The whole thing was just so confusing to you!
You can chuckle about it all now, so many decades later, because some of what you went through back then all does seem so sweet, so innocent due to how young you were, and how ‘unchurched’ you were, due to never really having attended any denomination your entire young life. Yet, you are no longer young, and you’re feeling left on the outside, looking in, and it’s about as heart wrenching as it could ever get, right then. With no real answers in sight, no end to this misery appearing ‘on the horizon’ for you. The Lord still has not helped to find a suitable conclusion–not within your heart, at least. Maybe the end of the dream might be the real conclusion after all, but you simply have not recognized it for what it is–not just a temporary ‘road block’, but a permanent one instead? If so, then, why-oh-why does your heart still ache, and the longing to belong still well up inside?
“But the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side.”[Numbers 22:24 KJV]
Not linking yourself to Balaam or anything, since he was the reason the Lord stood there in his way that time, and refused to allow him to pass by, but those words in that verse do seem to be apropos–could they really be the answer as to why you can’t seem to find a path to joining that Church, after all? If so, then, quite possibly you need to stop ‘beating’ your poor little ‘donkey’ of a dream, and check to see if the Lord truly isn’t why no forward motion towards that Church seems possible for you. Perhaps. Maybe. Ok. *sigh*
We’ll see–time will tell, as they say……
“Of all the seasons, I love Fall best of all!” I’m so glad it’s finally here!
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.~
A “White Knight” Production
*Spoken by Yul Brenner, in the movie, “The King and I”.