Getting Back to What Works
I just finished running. That is not uncommon for some people; however, for me it is an act of desperation. Now in my forties, exercise is more of a necessity than a pleasure. I was a runner when I was young. I could literally run for miles. But in recent years I have always told others that I would never run again unless something really big was after me! Well, something big is after me - it's called aging. I have come to the conclusion that if I do not take my health seriously, it could seriously hurt me. Thus, I am once again doing what I said I would never do.
People do things like this you know. One day they are walking down life's highway and see that things they had left undone are things that suddenly need attention. For some it is relationships, for others it is careers and for many it is time with family and friends, or like me their health. Nevertheless, it is not always the concerns I have previously mentioned. Many times it is one's spiritual needs which come to the forefront of one's mind, and then what?
Some find themselves wanting to return to the heritage of their mothers and fathers. Some want to find something more lasting than the temporal concerns of their daily lives. Do they want peace, happiness, strength, courage, or divine help for their lives? We would have to ask each one because we are all different. Yet, one thing is for sure they feel a need for something spiritual in their lives.
It is a common desire. Even so, many have said about church what, in essence, I have said about running. They have sworn that they would never go back. They were hurt, disappointed, disillusioned or bored and yet they still want a relationship with God. They want to pray and feel that they have been heard. They want to face tomorrow with confidence instead of fear. They want their children to know more than materialism and humanism. So what do they do? What do you do who are reading this and saying to yourself, that is where I am.
To begin with, I would say, you are not alone. The church has never been and will never be perfect as long as it is in this world and is comprised of human beings. Other religions are the same - they are filled with people also. You could be disappointed again if you are not aware of certain truths.
First, we can and must seek to serve God regardless of what others have done. If your former place of worship was filled with hurtful people, don't go back! There are many places where the people are loving - seek them out. Next, one size does not fit all. Don't try to live someone else's experience, even if it is mom and dad's. It will only be meaningful when it is your experience.
Also, base what you believe on God's Word. Philosophies and religious fads come and go so often that if you try to follow them, one day you will find yourself stranded in confusion. The Bible has stood the test and attacks of time. Sure people have used it and abused it for their own gain; nevertheless, its truths can only be misinterpreted when one takes them out of context.
Finally, it is the person of Jesus Christ who gives life and light. He gives "mercy and... grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16 NIV Stay with Him, hold to Him, believe in Him and He will give you "life and that more abundantly!" John 10:10 It is not too late. Go back to what works. God is waiting for you with open arms.