Bent, but Not Broken…Down, but Not Out

“If you faint in the day of adversity,
your strength is small.”

-Proverbs 24:10

The last few months have been really difficult for our church- several families that we love have left our church because they moved out of state or simply because the drive was so long every week that they had to find another church closer to them (in case anyone from those families is reading: our church is sad that you moved, but we are behind y’all 100% and are praying that God would lead you to the church He has for you:). But with all these families leaving, it has been really easy for me to feel discouraged about our church and wonder what God is up to. Our church was already relatively small to begin with, and now it’s even smaller. I’ve been so tempted to feel alone and discouraged.

It has been a trial for our church body. As Paul talks about the body of the church (1 Corinthians 12), so is each family that makes up the local church you attend (and the smaller the church, the more of a role each family plays). It should make sense, then, that when people leave the body of the church you attend, it feels like losing an arm or a leg! (If anyone is wondering, I can vouch for this personally).

Ironically, as I’ve been praying about this the last couple weeks, a couple of my readings for my daily quiet time have really hit me in the eyes about this. Proverbs 24:10 says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Wow. It doesn’t get any clearer than that! So often through this season with our church, I’ve felt really discouraged and alone…I felt like so many of our prayers for our church were just going into  bottomless pit. I was reading this verse at a time I was really discouraged, and it gave me the kind of slap in the face I needed. What He’s given us to do at our church is completely independent from what others are doing– whether they’re leaving or joining. Trials are a part of life, and we are called to persevere. I am called to do what He’s called me to do. This is the same principle as to why believers should live differently than the world.

And then, soon after that, I read Romans 5:3-5a: “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint…” This verse gave me so much hope! What our church has been going through, and what my parents and family and the other families in our church have been going through, have a purpose. It isn’t just pointless sadness and heartache when families leave, because that produces perseverance, and that perseverance produces character, and character produces hope that does not disappoint! This does not mean that it doesn’t hurt when we lose a member of our body, but it does mean that God has it under control.

So, if you’re going through a hard time right now, whether it’s personally or in a group setting, stand strong and hang in there! There are two Biblical principles below that have also really helped me (you might recognize them):

  1. Disappointment is inevitable, but discouragement is a choice.
  2. Obey God and leave all of the consequences to Him.

I hope this was an encouragement to you!

In Christ,

Christopher