Since being forced to leave the ministry in Jerusalem, I have been wrecked. I have been wrecked in every way you can be wrecked, aside from death, I suppose. And since, I have been stuck in a state of misery and grief as I am sure you have noticed by reading the posts of late.
I loved the ministry. I really loved the work. It didn’t matter if I was cleaning the toilets, harvesting olives, or tilling the soil, God gave me a love for it. After all, God did miracle after miracle to get me there. Every experience, every trial and sacrifice readied me for what I would face in Israel. Even so, it was a hard job. I was excluded from day-to-day planning meetings; was required to work while co-workers partied together, was bullied after breaking my leg; accused of being a drug addict and being crazy; and disrespected for serving 25 years in the military rather than going to seminary like everyone else in the ‘club’. Yes, it was a hard job, but God made all things possible, even love for the impossible.
If I had been going to a counselor, I am confident there would have been much encouragement to move on; get over it; let it go and to suck it up, buttercup. Stuck, stuck, stuck as if in a pool of molasses, I have been, until now.
What changed? Through my Pastor’s sermon, God revealed a piece of my story that I had forgotten. What did he say? Well, he discussed the positive benefits of fearing God. It is and was a great word. You can listen too, if you want at The Bible Chapel: Shiphrah and Puah:Fear of God The part that really got to me was when he reminded us of the lives of several people in the bible who feared God. Two examples are the midwives in Exodus 1:17 and Peter and John in Acts 4:19 and Acts 5:29. These people made a deliberate and conscientious choice not to obey the “flawed laws/rules given by their leaders” and instead chose to obey and do what God had called them to do. Peter and John summed it up well when they answered their leadership, “You yourselves judge which is right in God’s sight—to obey you or to obey God. For we cannot stop speaking of what we ourselves have seen and heard.” (Act 4:19-20)
I was forbidden by my supervisors not to do ministry more than 8 hours a day. I was forbidden to work in the dirt and mud of God’s garden with a dime-size hole in the knee of my jeans. I was forbidden not to clean up and refresh the gardens, despite it being used by God to draw people. I balked at ministering only to Believers. I was forbidden to feed the cat more than once a day and to make her wait 2 hours in the morning before doing so. These mandates are ridiculous and cruel at best, at least from the cats’ point of view. And of course, I chose not to obey them, fearing God instead of man. God calls Believers to proclaim Jesus and not live cloistered away in a church surrounded by Believers. So, rejected and abandoned, I admit what I have done.
And I refuse to be depressed about it anymore! You are my witnesses. They cannot hurt me anymore. Moreover, as much as they tried, they can NOT separate me from the love of Christ. The trouble and anguish, the persecution, lies and slander; even the financial nakedness they caused… cannot and will NEVER separate me from His righteousness (Romans 8:35). I now stand firm in Him and proclaim Jesus because I fear – admire; am amazed and reverent; have wonder for; tremble before, God.
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. (Deuteronomy 10:12-14)