Devotional by Lauren Webb
Scripture for Today: Psalm 106:47 (CSB), “Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, so that we may give thanks to your holy name and rejoice in your praise.”
I remember my father saying he believed it to be more difficult for someone who grew up in the church to remain faithful later in life than it is for a new believer with no Bible background.
I was confused by this statement, thinking perhaps it was because they didn’t know the real Jesus or they never grasped their need for Him as Savior. Recently, however, as my social media feed fills with deconstruction stories, I believe there is a third group of people to whom my dad was referring.
These deconstruction stories are shifting from well-known Christian leaders and celebrities to people I personally know. These are people I’ve walked with, people who I had no doubt loved Christ. My heart aches as I try to reconcile how this is happening or where it started.
So, I lean in.
I have read their stories and even interviewed several, trying to get an understanding of their beliefs and how those beliefs have been transformed. I am grateful, knowing it is not easy for them to open their hearts.
Each one had the same starting point: they had been hurt by a person or group of people in the church.
Although the stories were widely different, they all shared the same wound. There was fear, rejection, exclusion, shame, abuse, neglect, and slander. The second step was the sense of loss and isolation which warped their perspective of the Gospel. Because they lost trust in the people, in their minds the message they held was also untrustworthy.
Hypocrisy discredited the Truth.
Sadly, many of us experience a season where the church fails us. Because of sin, we live in a broken world (Romans 3:23). The church is designed to be a place where broken people work together collectively to further God’s kingdom. But we are still broken, and our salvation needs to be worked out (Philippians 2:12).
This is not a new problem we face.
Psalm 106 shows how we must give glory to God by making confessions, not only of the great things He has done but also for our failures which show His mercy and grace to be all the more glorious.
Take time to really read through this section of Scripture. God’s people continue to witness His miracles, only to get lost in fear or the brokenness of their desires. The Israelites (and our churches) mess up over and over again, only to be called back to one another and to His presence.
Since verse 47 calls for God to gather His people from among the nations, we must assume there has been dispersion. Yet this account begins and ends with praise. Even if we have experienced sorrow and brokenness within ourselves and our churches, it must not draw us away from praising God.
Ladies, do not give up! We are humbled before God when we experience the reality of our own sins, the failings of our churches, and even the fall of our nation. Yet we must not despair of His mercy. Do not cast out the truth of God’s Word, just because it’s easier to write it off than to fight through the hurt.
God is for you and for His church. His mercy is new every morning. Our stories, like that of the Israelites, can begin and end with praise, as long as we are brave enough to not give up.
- If you are struggling with faith right now, turn to the Word of God as a reminder of what God says. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.” Read the Gospel of John, and then find one person to talk it out with.
- Who on your radar might be struggling to reconnect with a church body after the pandemic closures? Reach out to them, take them to lunch, and pray for them by name.
- If you are struggling to find God in this current day, choose one prayer from the Bible (Jonah 2, Daniel 2, 1 Samuel 2 are a few suggestions) and pray it every day for seven days. Pray it out loud, write it out, and say it in the mirror. Fight doubt with the Word of God. God’s words do not return void.