Church hurt is a very real thing and I know so many including myself have continued to experience it. I have found a great distaste of modern church culture, probably similar to that of Jesus in His time. I love people, and I love the bride of Christ, but I do not love things that God hates that are so often found lurking in our Churches. Jesus came to earth to share with us a deeper revelation of God's love and acceptance for us. Today I want to share with you a dream I had that has moved my spirit and I believe is a key to the pain so many of my brothers and sisters have faced, so please join me in this quick read.
There are so many questions to ask as what we define as “church hurt”. Was it an experience or cluster of happenings between you and a member of a church or a group of people within a church? Have you never felt accepted and welcomed no matter where you went? Was it between you and the pastor of the church? Were you verbally abused, physically abused, abandoned, over-looked, accused of unforgivable things ( that's just silly)? The scenarios are endless and often jaw dropping when I hear what people go through in a place they should be finding restoration and healing.
Yet, nothing is more jaw dropping than our Lord and Savior being mocked, ridiculed, beaten, spit on, starved, and crucified to a cross. By no means am I trying to minimize the pain and suffering of my brothers and sisters. I can assure you that it is not the will of God for you to experience pain especially by fellow believers. As He has commanded us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. I too have faced both pain and suffering within and outside the walls of the church by believers. It is in honor and respect I will not be revealing what churches and to whom caused the pain, but what I will say is that to those feeling discouraged or simply unmoved by the idea of having a faith life because of what you have gone or are going through I am here today to share with you on the other side of your pain is something beautiful that the Lord wishes to give you. On the other side, there is an increase in strength, bravery, courage, humility, purity, glory, joy, and evidence of Jesus in you! From personal experience, I have been overlooked, misunderstood, ignored, hidden, falsely accused, and so much more. This was not at one church or by one person, but by a myriad of people and places. The irony of it all is that I was broken and hungry for a touch of heaven that I kept searching for in churches or by people who claimed to be walking with the Lord. I was looking for a place I could plug in and also love and minister to others. I was looking for a safe place to link arms with others looking to lead a pure, holy, and sanctified life for Christ. Not by rules or holding a perfect high-standard, but because we joyfully have the honor and glorious privilege to walk in authority with Christ. Along the way I met a few believers that changed my life forever and to them I am forever grateful, for the love they shared with me was indescribable.
The other day, I read James 1:12 which says, “If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God!” It was in this moment that I new that although I have pain from experiences and treatment by people within these churches there was always blessings within the pain. Whether it was the relationships I gained, the people I got to touch with Christs love, the lessons I learned, the spiritual endurance built, or the questioning of my faith that deepened my understanding of my why I believe in Christ, or the heavenly mantels of wisdom, humility, and courage given- the pain has always brought about gain no matter the amount of loss. The friends I have made along the way laugh now as they call me the “bedside baptist.” I love the Lord with all my heart and soul, I carry Holy Spirit within me, and read scripture daily. I get the honor and privilege of being the church in the community around me. I have friends of every walk of life, and I get to love them just as I would want to be loved. I do not have to preach the gospel at a pulpit for people to know they are uniquely and wonderfully made, but I get to show them through connecting with them. It has been in my isolation and pain that I met Jesus and I came to understand who He is, yet had I not experienced the isolation, I would never have been able to truly love and understand others like Jesus.
As I continue to heal from the pain I have felt from these experiences I had a heaven sent dream. I believe it was a confirmation of what Jesus, all the angels and Saints, and the Cloud of Witnesses are doing right now for all of us in heaven. In the dream I walked unknowingly into a festival. I avoided the concert area, but could tell it was a huge Christian concert. On the other side was a museum filled with paintings on brick walls. To the left of it was a cathedral church. Jesus was in a white robe with blood stains on it standing on a massive stone balcony with friars, nuns, angels, saints, and a cloud of witnesses. They were dancing back and forth. As people walked past the church I saw them throwing mass amounts of gorgeous roses in white, light pink, and dark pink. I quickly pulled out my camera phone and took pictures of the roses falling at the different stages of their decent from the roof. I looked at my phone and it had perfectly captured the roses at each stage up close in there colorful and fragrant vibrancy. I then got on a scooter and went to the museum. The dream continued on a bit, but I believe that was the central message God was sending down from heaven to us. When I woke up from the dream I mediated on what the dream meant, and what God was highlighting to me. I believe this was a dream of restoration of relationships with Jesus and the Church. I believe he was sharing with me the blessings we learn of through the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 5:3-11. He said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
There are overwhelming blessings from heaven falling down upon us. My prayer today is that we have eyes to see the gift of long suffering and to see the gift in being a child of God. He wishes to shower us in the fragrant roses of heaven and for all of those around us to see and hear how much He celebrates you as His son or daughter. So to those who have faced deep pain, know that you are loved and celebrated in heavenly places. You are known and celebrated in the book of life! May you smell the soft scent of roses everywhere you go and may His love captivate your heart completely so that no earthly turbulence will pull you from His fiery gaze. He loves you more than you could every fathom.