Today was the first time in a long time I was reminded of this sobering truth.
I first learned about this in a sermon called Prayer Remix by Louie Giglio (Before questionable teaching/association days)
He challenged us in our prayers and heart attitudes during praying. There are 5 common phrases we Christians always say. It’s like we say it because that what we’ve heard all our lives so we throw it in there like a disclaimer or silence filler without truly knowing.
“God, protect us.”
Initially it sounds perfectly fine doesn’t it? What’s wrong with asking God to protect us? I don’t think there’s anything wrong until we feel when safety becomes a priority over obedience or trusting God even in questionable circumstances. Safety is not guaranteed ever. There is nobody in the Bible that claimed to follow Jesus who had life easy safe and sound. Every disciple died because of their faith. They faced persecution and were in danger constantly. People came after them attacking and accusing. “There’s never a dull moment” is really an understatement for the disciples.
Especially for someone like me living in America. Land of the free. Freedom rings and freedom of religion is still one of the most prized yet taken forgranted in this country.
This morning a situation arose where I felt that freedom was slightly tainted or scratched on the surface. We serve on the ushering team and we had a group of 3 including myself. I noticed our pastor speaking to another member and they quietly asked pulled me aside. The news and instructions they gave me were not what I expected at all.
” A gentleman (somebody’s father) will be looking for ______. They are not mentally stable at this point. If he comes, please notify that person and ask them to come out of the chapel so he can escort him outside. If he tries to cause violence or start a fight, do not get involved or try to stop them but call the police immediately.”
It sounds bad. But at the time nobody could guesstimate how this gentleman would react. Standing there with my teammates was similar to the feeling of that classic game where you pull the swords out of the monkey barrel? Anxious and nervousness. I was waiting for a good moment to inform my other two co-servants but with people around it was hard to go into details and hard to pull them away without making things obvious or weird.
And then…I saw him. I recognized the face instantly and waited for him to approach out greeting station. He asked for that person and I said I would bring them out. I turned around to see that the was following me and asked him to please wait outside because worship was in progress. He agreed and shortly after blurred, “F***!!!!! ㅅㅂ(a Korean cuss word basically meaning poo or F”
I quickly told that person that they’re here. As soon as they came out the hello and cussing began. Two words were repeated over and over and somehow he was quickly escorted outside the building. Or or were shocked and frightened. Nobody expects to walk into a church building to hear this or are it. Everybody had this “What…the….” It was an awkward and frightening moment for everybody.
I couldn’t make a decision whether I wanted to dial 911 or search for the local police department number. I called in and told them there’s a gentleman who will not leave our premise and is causing disturbances. Thankfully two brothers got involved and somehow was able to escort the man further down the parking lot. 911 needed to transfer me over to local police but I hung up not sure what to do at that point. They called me back and my phone was silent so two officers came eventually.
I felt horrible. Fear is not the right word though it’s mixed in there. Felt sick in the heart. Unsettling. I came quietly back to my station and I could see my hands were shaking. My handwriting became shaky as I wrote nametags for people who continued to walk in. When this all happened the 3 of us were standing there along with 2 other ladies. We all just felt super numb. Lack of words. And to know he said he would come back every Sunday..was something I wish I didn’t hear. I hope it’s just a bluff. In case it’s not.. God, you are our light and our salvation..whom shall we fear? Give us courage O God.
This is different than when you see a homeless man yelling or shouting profanity on the streets. Even if that homeless man came into our building and did the same it would not feel the same way. This was somebody’s father. Somebody we love and is a member of our church body. This was a man who was mentally unstable. This could have been my dad or my father in law. Upset and emotional for some reason. This was where we called our gathering place for the body of believers to come and worship. This was our safe haven. Our space to come and seek God. Where people who are broken come to seek peace, not to have it shattered. They seek comfort not fear.
My heart split open into so many pieces. For the family members of this gentleman. For the people who witnessed and must have felt so many different emotions. For the two other servants and the two ladies who saw everything upfront…and for the gentleman.
I made my way into the chapel to join JP for worship. My heart…all it longed for was to be with Jesus. I didn’t care to know the reason and motives behind all this. I didn’t care to know. I just wanted Jesus. It was a bubble that was popped.
After a few hours of processing..
I remembered what Louie Giglio had said…..our safety is not guaranteed. Whether were overseas serving as missionaries preaching the Gospel which some would find far more worthy of protection and safety or whether were gathering to worship as a solemn assembly. It is not guaranteed. I began to think of my brothers and sisters around the world who face persecution weekly or daily. At their church or in their homes. On the street in the public. At school. Whether they’re known as a Christian or not. Harm is there. Sin is there. Evil is there.
I kept thinking, “Judy..man up..this is nothing compared to what others go through. ” Yet my heart felt as weak as if all the blood had drained. It ached and hurt for this family. That man. The way others were shaken by all this. It hurt and ached so much.
It could have been a man with a gun. A bomb. Anything..Anything…
Came home exhausted. Just drained. Overwhelmed. Slept for 3 hours only to have dreams where I and other church members were being pursued or chased out. Anxiety and nervousness in sleep or awake.
Read some Word to fill my heart and mind with more of Him….
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of theLord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
My blog is a poor documentation of today. But it’s all that I can say. I desire to be in His courts for 1 day..than a 1000 days elsewhere.
Praise You God for You are a sovereign God. People may make mistakes but You do not. In You alone I put my trust.