Do you ever just lay in your office floor while listening to inspirational Christmas (that’s right…Christmas) music and pray and cry over things that make your heart break?
Well, I have to fess up. I kind of did that today.
Like, five minutes ago, to be exact…
I wasn’t planning on it. I was just sweeping the dining room, thinking, praying, and boom…I got on my knees to pray, and there you have it. And I promise I’m not pregnant! I was, however, revisiting an issue that plagues me probably every other night…
I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing more tragic in this life than when Christian brothers and sisters have irreconcilable conflict.
The things that we typically categorize as “tragic” have mostly to do with death. When someone suddenly perishes at a young age, or when a mother or a father dies and leaves small children behind, or when a young woman is widowed…those things cause us to tremble and groan, for they are a stirring and horrifying reminder of the curses of the fall. They jolt us back to the reality that we are mortal and oh so frail.
However, death is coming, is it not, from the moment we enter this world? For each and every one of us? It is a necessary consequence that we must face, whether it happens at the age of 5 or the age of 101.
But what is so tragic about conflict among the brethren is that it is not a necessary consequence of the fall. None of us can escape the tragedy of death. The tragedy of a broken body of believers, though, is one that we don’t have to face; rather, it is the product of our voluntary disobedience. The Bible gives us every possible weapon to fight and defeat those sins that might divide us and cause us to separate from one another. It also gives us every possible means of reconciliation; in fact, the Word commands us to be reconciled to one another when conflicts arise, and fast!
And so the fact that there are believers out there that I no longer attend church with because we had differences “too great” to work through just rips me apart on a regular basis. Our seeming inability to reconcile is such a sad display of Christian lethargy and our pitiful excuses are nothing more than an outright refusal to obey the God we claim to worship. We might throw ourselves into the work of our respective churches, but the festering wound of our disunity is just under the surface, tainting our pious words and acts of service.
It is a tragedy.
That’s why I was laying in my floor today. Thankfully the children were all sleeping and Mr. Gore was away (can you imagine coming home to find your wife crying in the floor?! S-c-a-r-y!). On most days, I forget the past, I focus on preserving my present church family, I grow accustomed to life as it is now. But then, on days like today, the poignancy of what I have lost just grips me out of nowhere and I see with fresh eyes what an ugly picture we have painted of the unifying blood of Christ. And I am undone.
Laying in my floor.
Crying (just a little).
Praying (a lot).
It might seem strange to you that Mrs. Gore would do such a thing; its a bit strange to me, to be honest! But I hope that, until God answers my prayers, I will lay in my floor more often and cry out for the Holy Spirit to come…to heal me…to heal them…to forgive me…to forgive them…to compel us to obey…to love one another.
Till death do us part.
I suppose there are some things in life that you should never “get over”; likewise, I suppose there are happy endings that you should fight for until you take your last breath. Not for the sake of your hurts or your reputation or your own peace of mind even, but for the sake of the gospel.
I miss my old friends. The ones from childhood. The ones from high school. The ones from “the church split”. The ones from last year. Every single one of them. And there’s not one that I would not love to have back in my life. My heart might yearn to see loved ones who have died, but it absolutely groans over these relationships that have been lost.
Until then, I’ll keep praying…probably not in the floor, and maybe not with tears, but always with a desperation and an optimism that God will answer. I hope you’ll join me. Because whether you live in my small town, or half a world away, I know that you know what I’m talking about.
Now, hit the floor! But don’t forget to turn on your Christmas music first.