There are times, when for no apparent reason, I find myself transported back to June of 1984. It was at that time that I received the most personally devastating news I ever got in my life. I was told, after faithfully serving in the ministry for nearly 15 years, that there was no place for me and that I was unwanted by anyone in the country. Even now, as I think about the events of August 1983 through June of 1984, chills go down my spine. Lies, disinformation, personal vendettas and the quick willingness to sell a good man down the river conspired together to, for all practical purposes, end my public ministry.
Why would I still be thinking about things that took place more than 30 years ago? Why, knowing what I was spared from that took place later in that ministry, would I still feel a pang of hurt when I remember that one phone call? Am I guilty of failing to forget those things which are behind... ? Am I a masochist who enjoys dwelling on a time that ripped my heart right out of my chest? I don't think so. I believe that God occasionally brings things up in my mind that took place that long ago to remind me that it is by the grace of God I am who I am and against all odds, I still am alive and serving God.
I stand amazed that I am still alive and kicking after all I have gone through physically and spiritually in my life. I know that it is only by God's grace I am still among the living and able to still keep on giving. The instant I begin to think I am the reason I live, is the moment God brings memories of 1983-84 to my mind. That horrible year helps keep me humble and content in whatsoever state I am in. I should know better than any man on earth that my strength and abilities come only from the Lord. In and of myself I have nothing and I am nothing.
Yes, it still hurts me to think back to that time when just about everyone I knew rejected me and joined in the chorus of condemnation of me. The charges against me were bogus and I was never allowed to give my side of the story. I was taken out of town, strung up on a tree and hanged by my peers who acted as both judge and jury. Long ago I came to grips with what happened back then and forgave all the people involved. But, there remains within me a splinter that hurts me once in awhile. I think it is a good thing.
Paul was rejected by all his countrymen and most of the believers he won to the Lord. Jesus was rejected by His own disciples. Moses was rejected by the multitudes he led out of Egypt. David was rejected by his own son. As long as we live we will face rejection. As long as we live we will be falsely accused, defamed, hung out to dry, thrown under the bus and wronged on all counts. We cannot stop these things from happening but we can certainly stop them from bringing us down. Regardless of what has happened, is happening or might happen in the future; always remember that God is with us when men reject us and God loves us when everyone around us has no use for us.
Same as K. and funny the years were the very same as the most difficult faced coming out of college and receiving the diagnosis & now lived with +30 yrs. Your word are true when reminded with forgiveness still remaining ... I must embrace His grace being sufficient and any suffering or pain present today turned completely to Him.
Thank you Kirk.
No doubt that as I also recall the day as I was hung out upon the tree, although at the time seemed Evil it was for good reason on my part. The lesson was too not trust in anyone. Only days later did the church leaders learn the truth and I was vindicated of all wrong! Of course it all was lies and half truths, words taken out of context.
Although my name was clear they never returned Me to My position!
Be blessed forever
Those years were also the time when my denomination left me out to dry - I have often wondered this when I hear your story again that those years were a time of intense satanic activity against the church and His chosen ones. There are seasons under the sun when God allows circumstances to mould and shape us, which on looking back we can see his hand and rejoice in his grace and love.
Having also been hung out to dry I can in a small part feel your pain: my difference was that I chose to stay silent to protect others. With hindsight I believe speaking out would have stopped the nonsense that has gone on in our church since.
What I want to say is that the love we have you here at cb is so much stronger than the hate directed toward you in 83-84. Even through your illnesses you proclaim and show the Glory of God.
But the splinters do remain . Thankfully one day God will get a pair of tweezers, pull them out and the pain shall be no more.
A few times a year I force myself to think back on some of the things I did, and some of the things did to me, that were all bad, while working in the four walls of the church.
All of them bring me thoughtful pain, especially those things that I did to others, but probably most of all where the knives in the back. Those scars ones will probably never go away. And that is unfortunate.
This resonates me especially. Believe me I have my own story to tell but I'll save that for my own blog. I believe the most important thing is the point made by this blog. Hard times draw us closer to God. This is especially true concerning rejection. With God no weapon formed against us shall prosper. It is okay to remember the past difficulties in order to remember the lesson from those situations. However, do not dwell on the past. The past is history, the future is a mystery, the only thing promised is today.