Recently, it has come to my attention that because my family is not personally attending a church at this time, that God may be punishing us with the trials and tribulations we have so far endured, with the Lung Cancer which was removed from me recently, the financial issues we continue to have, the depression that is experienced here, the list can go on and on. I want to bring up a few things about this:
When I was in church:
- I endured several bouts of pain and abscesses which do not mix well with where one sits. It is one of the most excruciating pains one can have and I would not wish it upon anyone, yet I have endured more than a lifetime's share of it.
- I've lost a couple of jobs, both of which were enjoyable by me, but were lost, causing financial distress.
- Miscarriages happened in my previous marriage. Did we ever ask for this? I have only been able to father one child, and the last male in my family tree to carry on the family name.
- I've been in car accidents
- I've experienced heartache and pain over the loss of a loved one.
- I was persecuted by non-Chrstians and Christians at work.
- I was in a very dysfunctional marriage which was full of more negativity than happiness.
- I ended up getting divorced after being cheated on.
- I lost my Father the same year as my divorce.
- I battled depression.
- I was diagnosed with Hereditary Hemochromatosis which causes loss of work sometimes.
All of the above happened, I know there was more, but these stand out to me.
Out Of Church:
- I lost my job within 2 months of meeting Mandy after we moved in with each other. This was due to the financial depression we had. I was out of work for 3 years straight.
- We have experienced various levels of financial distress and even being forced out on the street due to no work.
- We both have battled depression and continue to do so daily. Some days more severe than others.
- We've experienced additional financial hardship in the form of vehicle breakdowns and cars being repossessed through surrender because of the financial distress. Even a job loss.
- Medical bills continue to mount.
- I have been in two accidents, both of which were not my fault, yet deemed to be because of crooked insurance companies and claimants.
- I was in a near accident last year which very easily could have gotten very ugly and/or fatal.
- I was diagnosed with Lung Cancer
- I have experienced and continue to experience loss of work as part of my recovery which is still going on from the major surgery.
- We have gone down to a single income due to other medical issues in the family.
- We have gone bankrupt literally.
I have been told by certain people that I was placed here in Portland because God knew that I would have a greater success level of recovery and outcome by going through OHSU. I have also been told that it has been a wake up call for other people in my life to change the way they live their lives. You know who you are if you are reading this. Then, it has been suggested that maybe it is God's way of getting our attention and back into church.
As you can see above, at least eleven adversities have hit my life and Mandy's both in church and out of church. I have not included her adversities she had before we met. How can one person make an assumption and/or judgement that just because we are not actively attending a church are we experiencing more adversity? Certainly, the Bible does mention attending church:
However, there is no direct commandment or order that one must attend church or else, they may experience increased adversity. In fact, we are always under attack in way, shape or form:
People are quick to judge others by their own standards. I know this to be true and have been guilty of doing so myself. I have witnessed many Christians fall under attack and assume that it was because they did something wrong which was not Christian and it was a punishment from God. How could I even dare think that? While God did allow Job in the Bible to experience extreme diversity and hardship, it was done as means of proving Job's steadfastness toward God and not turning away from Him. This does not mean that God is going to send us hard ships or hard times. In fact, God is love and is merciful. It is not His will that one should suffer.
I wrote in an earlier post the statement of my faith. You can read it.
Let me ask those that are in church and feel the same way as others have about us not attending church this - If you take away all the blessings you have received and think of all the adversity, you will find that you have experienced it just the same as we have or anyone else who is not in church has.
The plain truth is that God does not respect persons, look at all of the non-believers who are wealthy. Look at all the believers who are wealthy. People do not see the troubles and trials that each group of person goes through which they endure to reach where they are in life. The homeless person on the street for example, may be 100% on fire for Christ and yet still live on the streets. If God was punishing people for not attending church, why then would He allow a homeless person who has a strong heart for Him to continue to live on the streets? How can a woman endure the tragedy of losing their first born child if she is a church attender, while another woman who isn't attending a church experiences the same kind of loss?
I believe that the choices we make in life lend partially to our successes and failures. I also believe that we are given adversity so that we may grow from those and if the time should come, council others in our lives that are going through what we have endured.
Why my family has been enduring the hardships and adversity, is beyond me at times, but I know that we have become stronger people as a result. We have become wiser, we have learned from our past, and can change our future. I personally do not believe that they are because of us not being in a church.