When I wrote on Friday about my concerns for Christians forfeiting their freedom in Christ to live as enslaved, I had no idea I would hear what I did on the news that evening.
“Have you been following the news today?” my wife asked me.
“No, I haven’t” I replied. She told me briefly of what was happening in Colorado Springs at New Life Church, that Ted Haggard, the senior pastor had resigned, and why.
My heart sank.
Through the weekend I watched and read what I could of the news, as long as there was some attempt to remain objective. I watched Mrs. Haggard’s face, especially her eyes, as the camera tried to find her husband behind the wheel as he answered questions. I read and listened to his words. Watched his face. His eyes. His mouth as they formed the words.
And I prayed through the resulting nausea.
Today I’ve read perspectives from various points of view on blogs that belong to thinkers, and in the press. It’s a full spectrum of emotions and perspectives from as many points of view as there are Christians, and many who aren’t.
“Vibrance” is not a place for controversial discussions. I have intentionally not gone there. We children find it easy enough to bicker and quarrel without my adding my 2-cents worth to stir things up. I do have some strong and urgent thoughts on this situation, though. As I collect and present them I hope you will understand these thoughts will not be posted here for controversy-sake. What I post will be consitent with the purposes of this place (see “C’mon In!” up above) and while I welcome comments, I will moderate comments without apology.
I will say this much as a preface to the thoughts to come:
We ought not take too much stock in current comments and press releases. We need to look for the same thing the Master Gardener, God Himself, anticipates. And that is renewed fruitfulness, though it won’t be in the same venue as fruitfulness recently truncated and forfeited. To say anything at the time of pruning is premature. Pray. Hold your tongue several months and then see how things are as God works in and through people closest to this situation. “What’s changed? What’s improving? What’s still a struggle?” will be questions we who look on may feel free to ask.
Jesus said “By your fruits you will know them”. We know what exists right now. It’s not fruit. But let’s let God do His work, knowing He sees the beginning from the end and His is the only opinion that matters. Ted Haggard’s life has not come to an end. He is still a husband, and he is still a father. The efforts of those working with him right now are not in vain, even if he disappears from public view and all we ever read is that he is walking with God and faithfully leading his wife and family at home. That’s God’s call – not ours.
Those who are only happy when they have life & ministry all figured out will have quick assessments, even forcefully stated. Some of them you may have already seen. I am not in that camp as there is much I do not know, much I do not understand, or need to. I have neither the energy nor the desire to play Jr. Holy Spirit. But I can pray.
- For a church suddenly faced with questions of authenticity and believability, their leader having been removed a few days ago.
- For five kids trying to find their way through the debris this moral tornado has hurled into their world.
- For a wife suddenly yanked from her ministry —not because of what she’s done, but because of her husband’s sin— faced with decisions, responsibilities and emotions she never thought she’d face.
- For church leaders faced with challenges unimaginable last month but real today.
- For a minister of the gospel now a layman, stripped of all authority, credibility, respect and honor, by actions admittedly of his own doing. While his Lord’s forgiveness is available to him —already granted if he’s done business with God— the rescue, the reconstruction, the renewal of his own heart and family will take longer and be harder than he dares to imagine right now.
I need to pray. We all do.
And we all need to be self-disciplined and on the alert. We have an enemy on the prowl. More on that in 1 Peter 5. We can be alert without being suspicious – and we must.
Next: Thinking About the Mind