Mar 9, 2009

When God Isn't Enough

I am sure some have seen the title and already are judging and saying that God is always enough, but before you respond, read what I have written.
We preach it, sing it, shout it from the mountains that God is enough. He has the ability to carry us, provide, deliver, heal, and provide all we need. While that is true, there are times when God is not enough.

Maybe to some I am having a pity party, but I am not alone in that.

I am going thru things right now that are crushing me beneath the weight. Some of you may know some of it; very few know most of it, and no one knows all of it, but me and God. As a general rule, I stay vague about myself. I am not looking for sympathy, and I do my best to keep my private life private. I guess in a way you could say I am bipolar, because what most of you know about me online is not the complete me if you knew me personally. However, I will not share all of it, but there are times when God is not enough, and I want to explain why I feel that way. I do this with great trepidation but, I am tired of bottling it up.

I have had health issues a long, long time. Almost fourteen years have gone by since I found myself going from healthy, comfortable, and constantly ministering, to where I was too sick to get off a couch. It was a literal hell. Doctors couldn't figure it out. Family and friends walked away, and the church... well they acted like I was a leper. I won't go into more of that now, but maybe someday.

After several years of the loneliness that comes from multiple health issues and people not knowing what to say when God doesn't heal, a friend came into my life. She was apostolic, involved in a music ministry, and at the time she became my everything. Within a few months she rescued me and took me to where she lived, married me of course, and changed my life forever. I loved her children as my own, and for the past several years, they have been my children.

Somehow, we ended up back where I was from, and we came with no preconditions. Since my wife was vey musically talented, she offered to help, and I offered to help any way I could. I had at one time assisted the former pastor. I knew the ropes. I could offer advice, or do whatever was asked of me. Somehow, they got the idea, not from us, that we were there to 'take over' as someone so nicely put it. That was never the plan, there was no plan. However, from that moment, we were treated as outsiders from most in the church and especially the pastor. I didn't understand it. I tried to pray about it, seek advice, but none of it mattered.

I did what I could, but I sat on the sidelines and watched that church die. Oh, it still has a pulse, but its not at all what it used to be, or what it could be. Don't offer to help though. Unless you have deep pockets you won't be considered.
I know I sound bitter, and perhaps I am a little.

Anyhow, over the past couple years, after seeking the mind of God about leaving, staying, or what to do in general, my wife and I decided to start a church. It wasn't just about how we were treated, people were showing up at our house who we didn't know and asking us about God. We did a lot of soul searching, tried to leave, prayed for a new minister to come, did everything because we did not want to start trouble.

However, last spring, everything started falling into place. Someone I had never met called and offered to pay six months on a building if I could find one. My wife was excited, telling friends at work, people in the grocery stores, and planning to take a big family photo and splash it all over the newspaper.

It was exciting, we found a building we could use for up to five services a month for $250.00.

Three weeks later, my wife comes home from work, tells me she and the kids are moving to Texas, she has another 'man' and that we should have never been married. Around the same time, the doctors diagnosed me with leukemia.

My whole world crumbled.

I tried to find comfort in the church, but I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. It was basically non-existant. It still is. Yes, I still go to church, but for the most part I don't see any reason to. The few people at church who do talk to me are 'praying for you.' Although there are those who tell me the leukemia and the divorce is because I am in rebellion to the pastor, or that I must be running from God.

Please understand, I know I am not the only one who goes through trials, I know I am not the only one who is sick. I also know that when I had friends going through things, I was there for them. I do not understand why they cannot be there for me.

There is a lot of things I do not understand, and yet, his word gives direction to issues like these but it seems that part of the bible does not matter.

Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

I guess what I am trying to say is we cannot pick and choose which scriptures we listen to. I have served God my entire life. I grew up on a church pew, I have been a minister, evangelist, sunday school teacher and director, youth pastor, and on and on. Yet, I am like so much drivel tossed aside when trouble came to me.

And I wonder, is it just me? Did I do something to deserve this? Or is this how everyone from new convert to elderly saint gets treated when the 'church' doesn't know what to say?

You don't know how it will change someone's life to invite them out for supper. Or perhaps see if they want to go shopping with you, or maybe take them a loaf of home baked bread, or a pie. But instead, we get so caught up in our own lives we neglect the ones who need us the most, because, we must be about the work of the Lord.

Does anyone visit the widows and orphans anymore? Does anyone still visit the sick, the backslider, or send them a card or anything? We can pray til we have no words left to say, but sometimes all that is needed is a listening ear, and it seems no one has that anymore.

I know you think I am whining. Kind of like Elijah did, Moses did, David did, Joseph, Jeremiah, Jonah... and yes, even Jesus was lonely. He just wanted someone to spend a little time with him in prayer, but they couldn't make the effort. We all think we are the one who is different. If we were the one asked.. we'd be the first to do everything to help.

I joined everyonesapostolic with that in mind. I needed someone to confide in. I needed a listening ear, and maybe some advice. I had never been thru a divorce before, let alone leukemia. I knew there were other apostolics online who had been thru things, so I decided to try it out.

I made a couple of 'close' friends who I was willing to listen to and I opened up to them some as well. I was finding strength in the midst of the storm. I had a shoulder to lean upon if only online or a phone call. I started seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. One called me almost daily to make sure I was doing good; went so far as to invite me to move to where they were, and even had me talk to their child on the telephone. They gave me reason to believe I mattered, and that they wanted to be a part of my life, even if it was hard. But just like always, in a flash they were gone. The three I opened myself up to, trusted, and gave me a glimmer disappeared in the dust.

I guess that is the way it is. Maybe I shouldn't trust anyone. Maybe I should just live a solitary life, because it seems that anyone who gets close to me, God yanks away. I find myself wondering what is wrong with me? But is it really me? Is it God? Or have we become so content with who we have become that we ignore those who need a lift once in a while? Is our own wants so important that we don't care who we hurt in the way to our goal?

I am sure there are some of you after you read this will turn and walk away and I will never hear of you again. Why should you be any different? If we are not always happy go lucky, take it all in stride, don't make waves, then no one wants to get close. I understand that. I don't like negative people.

But I am tired of complacency. I am tired of bottled up anger or grief. I am tired of talking to people who are literally going thru hell and trying to help them out when I have a hell of my own to contend with. I am tired of being vulnerable only to have it shoved in my face. I am tired of hearing about miracles, I want to see one in my own life.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone else? Am I the only one who feels this way? I seriously doubt it.

I guess the answer I have been searching for is to not let anyone close. Just shut my mouth, not make waves, and just take it like a man. Maybe I am just not worthy.

It is a new generation. We are in a sinking ship, and there are only a couple of life preservers left, and no one is willing to take a chance that they are the one who can save someone else. Life perservers can usually hold a lot of weight. Would it hurt to help someone else stay afloat for a bit? All it would take is wrapping your arms around them and letting them know you will help them hang on.

Naw. Let them sink. It's what everyone else does.

Could God create a boat just for them? Sure. Could he bring about a miracle just for the one in need? Sure. Could he change the situation? Sure. But sometimes, he needs our help.

There is nothing like the feeling when that person you brought to church gets the holy ghost. There is nothing like the feeling, when the person you prayed and fasted for gets their miracle. There is nothing like a hug to someone who is lonely.

Can God do it himself. Sure. But just like God cannot make anyone love him, he cannot make anyone love us. There are times when even God isn't enough.

He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.