When our church leaders began to dialogue about the structural needs of our church almost a year ago, it was a list that kept getting longer and well beyond our financial means. At the top of the list were our leaky gym and school roofs as well as some old HVAC units. Then we noticed our worn out (and in places, torn) carpet that was long over due for replacement. All of these became prominent in the list of many needs. But how were we going to tackle such a large and growing list?
Then lightning struck … literally!
This untimely inconvenience that fried our HVAC unit, thermostats, A/V equipment, and even our organ (among many other items), became the surprising means through which the Lord would answer our prayers. We were not expecting the insurance company to provide so much of the means through which the damaged A/V equipment, HVAC unit, and organ could be replaced.
Lightning does not strike churches only, it can strike our lives as well.
Then lightning struck again! This time in the form of bursted water pipes. The damage was quite extensive leading us to relocate all of our children’s Sabbath School classes, as well as furniture. Again through this misfortune the Lord is using our insurance company to provide for our church needs that were well beyond our present financial means.
So it is evident that as we are praying, God is answering – though in some uncomfortable and unpredictable ways. I wonder if these temporary discomforts should discourage us to stop praying or trusting God. Should the unexpected discomforts lead us to be afraid of God’s lightning … or to see Him in it?
It seems that God has made our church a living sermon. A sermon that challenges how we relate to persistent prayer, trusting commitment, and faithful stewardship at a personal level. Lightning does not strike churches only, it can strike our lives as well.
We could ask ourselves if we have been tempted to stop praying when the answer to our prayers is a lightning bolt or a broken pipe, or another uncomfortable or unpredictable experience.
I believe the Lord allowed this to turn out the way it did for various reasons. One of them may well be to provide tangible proof that we can trust Him with our needs that extend well beyond our means (not just financial). That He can and will provide, often from where we least expect it.
Does He care more about the walls, carpet, and pipes of the church but less for the church members?
Another reason could be to encourage us to remain faithful in the midst of lightning, flooding, or other unfortunate circumstance in our life. Could God care more about the walls, carpet, and pipes of the church but less for the church members? Which is His church for which He gave His life? The building or the people? You and I are His church, precious and highly esteemed in His sight. Should we not trust His promise: “But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”? (Matthew 6:25-34)
I pray that as we eat and fellowship in our dry gym (no leaks), or experience a warm breeze from the vents (HVAC) or eventually step on new carpet, these will be the evidence of things not seen, the substance of the things we hope for (see Hebrews 11). Whatever may the need, whatever may be broken, whatever may be lost, our church building assures us we can trust God and be at peace.
Praying for you,
Pastor Ariel, Dalyn, and Gianna