Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Hebrews 12:14-15, NIV*
You know what it’s like when you start getting dissatisfied with any group of people: you start noticing everything they do wrong. And of course what they do wrong often means what they don’t do your way.
That’s where I’ve been for a while now in one of the groups where God has placed me. It’s become “me vs. them” with a deep chasm in the middle. I’ve asked Him to move me, and He’s said no.
Good thing, too. If I’d moved on, I’d have carried the same seeds of disconnection with me and started the process over again.
The other Sunday in morning worship I was asking Him to mend the chasm, while at the same time thinking it was too deep to fill, that I was too damaged to restore. Knowing I’d done the damage myself.
These verses from Hebrews were part of our morning reading, and the “live in peace” and “bitter root” parts echoed the need in my prayer. But I’d been praying a long time for this and saw no sign of change.
As the congregation sang Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God,” the word “our” told me “me vs. them” had to become “us”.
I’ve long felt that I didn’t fit into this particular group. Our differences were perhaps part of the trouble, although my imagination had enlarged them.
This Sunday, in the middle of worship, God did something neat. He reminded me about the verses in 1 Corinthians 12 about the body: the eye and the ear, complaining about their differences. And I understood:
I do belong and am intended to be my own specific part.
I’ve been guilty of saying the same thing as the ear: you don’t do it my way, so I don’t want to belong.
The congregation was still singing away, and I was singing too, but inside I was processing this revelation. “How Great is Our God.” The title repeats throughout the song, and now something clicked in my spirit.
God is great. Great enough to mend the chasm. I began to believe. To confess, and to cautiously hope.
He wasn’t done yet. Our next song declared that God has forgiven our sin. It’s past tense, a done deal. Even for this one I was still praying about.
My spirit believed it.
The chasm is mended. The chasm is being mended. The chasm will be mended.
I belong, although I’m different from the others. I’m responsible to do my part, released and intentional, not watching for others’ reactions.
What is my part? It might be fun finding out.
Father, thank You! I’m humbled and grateful to be restored. To be free to serve You as a functioning part of this and other groups where You’ve placed me. Open my eyes and my heart to discover and to fulfill the role You’ve designed me to fit. Show me my part.
What else can I sing but “How Great is Our God” from Chris Tomlin?
*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Man, this was a particularly good piece, Janet!! Thanks so much. God is amazing, and you’ve captured another facet of His amazing-ness. 🙂
Thanks, Sheila. I hesitated to post this one, because it’s longer and more personal, but I’m glad I did. Blessings!