Remember that first date? When time moved so slow that it seemed like the absolute longest day in the history of man?
When you spent an hour figuring out what to wear?
And you practiced conversations in your head for days in advance?
Excitement, nervousness, wanting to look your best and wanting to sound like you’ve got it all together. Trying to hide your faults, your weaknesses and your failures.
And then jump forward a few years. You’ve been steadily dating, having open conversations, sharing dreams and talking seriously about a future together. By then you know that he has that annoying little habit of ___________________________ and that she can do ________________________ which really drives you nuts.
You know each other’s faults but feel God is leading you toward a path together, so you go with it and attempt to work with/overlook those faults.
And then jump forward an other 10 years – you’ve been married for 9 years, you’ve got 2 kids with a 3rd one on the way. You know each other very well, you share your insecurities, you share your struggles and yet you are partners – you work together, you laugh together, you love together.
There are many churches and many people in many churches throughout North America (and others I assume) who are hurting. And why are they hurting?
They are hurting because they are stuck at the first date phase.
And have been for many many years.
Too much time spent pretending all is well, pretending that everything is perfect and that you’ve got the perfect house, the perfect well behaved children, a great job and wonderful in-laws.
And you don’t.
All is not well. You hurt. Your children are struggling.
Your house is worth less than what you owe on it.
Your spouse is worried about losing their job.
And when you go to church on Sundays, no one is willing to talk about pain. Everyone acts like they are on a first date. Everyone acts like their kids are doing just fine, business is wonderful and all is well.
It’s not. We live in a fallen world. We live in a world full of problems.
And if the church ignores the problems, hides the problems or isn’t willing to deal with the fact that there is pain in this world – and much of it is pain you can’t see, then the world is going to look at the church and say,
“Why do I need you?”
“Why are you relevant to what is going on in my life?”
“Where were you when I needed help?”
We aren’t on a first date any more, it’s time to be real.
To acknowledge real pain.
And to help each other deal with the pain.
And to heal from the pain.