Why Don’t We Pray?

Why Don’t We Pray?

Read your Bible and pray every day, pray every day, pray every day. Read your Bible, pray every day, and you will grow, grow, grow.

Anyone remember that song from Sunday School? While the words still ring true, more often than not, we do everything (talk to people, try to find solutions on our own) but pray. But why? Why is this so often a last resort?

We are afraid nothing will happen.
We asked once or twice and nothing. This line of thinking can happen often when we aren’t aware of it. We have something big that’s on our hearts, but it’s not just that the request is a big ask. It’s personal. Just mouthing the words is difficult because we feel exposed. The request is near and dear to us, we will have to lay all our cards on the table, and we can’t stand the idea of being met with silence. So we remain silent.

We are unsure if the Lord cares.
Children help highlight the opposite of this point. They are quick to ask mom and dad for what they want the minute they think of a new toy or treat. Why? Because they know their parents love them.

Of course, this is an imperfect analogy as a parent’s love is not defined by always buying their children what they want when they want it. But the key is this: children don’t hesitate to ask.

Sometimes we are slow because (maybe without realizing it) we are telling ourselves this false narrative. Well, I asked once before, and nothing happened. So I guess God doesn’t really care.
And within two seconds, we are falling into the same pattern Eve did in Genesis 3. She doubted God’s goodness.

We feel God has been good enough so why should we ask for more.
Maybe you’ve come off a season where God answered some really long-standing prayers—an unsaved friend trusted Christ, you met your spouse after years of singleness, or you finally got pregnant after a prolonged season of infertility. Those are indeed reasons to praise and thank the Lord! So how could we ask for more—isn’t that almost ungrateful?

We feel like we have to earn it.
Any achievers or perfectionists out there? Some of us feel like we can only get an answer to our prayers until we have worked our tailbones off and done everything possible to support the scenario. Then, and only then, do we ask the Lord for help or blessing. We forsake the gift of grace and live by a works-based mentality.

We question whether it’s the right prayer.
We know what we want, but we are timid in asking for it. Maybe we are hoping for a little break from the routine of life, even a fun vacation. Maybe we are discouraged and could use some encouragement but don’t want to ask for it because we are supposed to rejoice in the Lord always, right? In these scenarios, we forget to unpack the whys.

Why do we want a break? Why do we feel like we need encouragement? Sometimes we have an idea that we think will fix (at least help) whatever is wrong, but we haven’t spent enough time in prayer to tell God what invisible bricks are weighing us down. Maybe we are nervous that our motivation is wrong or that somehow God will be disappointed in us for struggling, but how can we know what the Lord thinks until we go to Him through His word?

So what does Scripture say? Like the psalmist says in Psalm 73, “When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless until I entered God’s sanctuary.” The psalmist was looking at the way of the world and almost wishing he could be in their shoes until he came before God and faced his honest thoughts with truth.

The Word actually has many encouraging and beautiful things to say about prayer.

We are called to pray constantly.

“Ask, and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a serpent? If you then who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him.”

Matthew 7:7-11

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Romans 12:12

The idea of the verbs in Matthew 7 is a continual action. God wants His children to ask Him. He’s not begrudging our requests. He is a good Father. He wants to give us good things.

Yes, we struggle because sometimes our definition of good doesn’t align with His. But that again proves the importance of being constant in prayer. The more we are connected with Him, the more He will align our hearts and desires with His. In Romans 12, rejoicing, patience, and prayer are all connected. So isn’t it possible then that if we lack hope and patience in our lives, we have neglected the beauty of constant prayer?

We are called to give thanks.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

I Thess 5:16-18

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Phil 4:6-7

To give thanks, we have to recall to mind all that God has done. This does not mean we can’t bring our hard or frustrating things to the Lord (“in everything” means we get to pray about ALL of life). But we have to remember who our God is. If we don’t, we will indeed get lost in the challenges of our circumstances.

He is the God who created the universe,
Man and woman,
And offered hope after the curse.
He is the one who showed favor to a no-name from Haren
And blessed his wife
Who was long barren.
He is the one who grew the Israelites into a nation
And gave them favor
To provide the foundation
Of His plan of grace,
To give the Savoir a birthplace.
Despite the rebellion of His own creation
And the years of wandering and waiting,
There was never a hesitation
To love His own
And make His glory known.

The same God who parted the Red Sea
Hears my every plea.
The same God who rescued Daniel from the lion’s den
Counts my tears, again and again.
The same God who called fishermen and tax collectors
Promises to be my protector.
The same God who allowed His Son to die for sin
Washes me clean from my filth within.
The same God who raised Jesus from the dead
Gives me hope through the Living Bread.

This, this is the God I hesitate to come to?
How little my faith is indeed
If I cannot see this God on my knees.

May God show us our lack of faith so that we may know Him better as we pray, day after day.

Marriage—The Good and the Hard

Marriage—The Good and the Hard

This week,  my husband and I celebrated three months of marriage. That won’t sound like much to those who have been married for years. Down the road, I will likely look back at these thoughts and think the same thing, but right now, in the newness of the season, I  want to share what God is teaching me. 

So—what has three months of marriage taught me? 

I am far more selfish than I thought 

Marriage is a giant transition, and so many wonderful things come from it – getting to make meals together, plan for the future together, wake up together, just to name a few. But in that newness, there is still this old habit of independence. 

At the very start of our marriage, Luke and I still made decisions on our own and would then later say, “Oh no! I really should have talked to you first!” 

Most of those instances were laughable and somewhat understandable — for so long, we only had to think about things from our perspective. But I’ve also come to see how I think of my opinions and reactions first, especially when we come to a disagreement. Sometimes, whether in the moment or after the disagreement, the main questions I ponder are, “Why are you mad at me? What did I do?”

You may think that’s a good question, and in part it is. I  should always own up to my sins and be willing to say, “I was wrong, will you forgive me?” But sometimes, my husband is wrestling with something that has nothing to do with our disagreement.

Yes, we might have been short with each other based on a silly little decision like where to go out to eat. But what was the reason behind that irritation? Am I willing to take the time to ask questions and say, “Love, is something else on your mind?” Or do I just take the easy route and move on because I have at least owned up to my poor reaction? 

Sometimes the struggle might be from a conversation we had earlier that we need to unpack better, but many times what’s been weighing on his mind is a completely different situation that has nothing to do with me. And when I am so quick to focus on myself, I miss seeing my husband and offering timely encouragement.

I have a much higher opinion of myself than I realized

Being that my husband and I are both sinners saved by grace, there are many times that I fall short—the scary thing is I am sometimes so oblivious to my wrong. 

And then, when my sin comes to light, I am devastated. I have failed the person I have promised to love most. How could I do such a thing? I was trying so hard to love him well—wasn’t I? 

Sin is deceitful and creeps in when I least expect it. When I am devastated and almost paralyzed by my failure, that isn’t humility. It’s pride. 

Pride is sly. It’s not always haughty, brash, and noticeable. And when I go round and round in circles about how I can’t believe I did that or messed up that way again, I am saying “I should be above failure.” That type of narrative makes me feel awful for my failure but offers no hope. That line of thinking contradicts the truth of Scripture:

Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

James 4:6-10

When I am saying “Oh my word, I am the worst,” really I am saying I should be able to be better on my own. That. Is. Pride. And God doesn’t extend grace to the proud. He offers grace upon grace to the humble. 

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I can admit my wrong, ask for forgiveness from God and my spouse, and ASK for help. Admit that I don’t have it all figured out. Sometimes I don’t know the best way to love my husband, but asking him about it versus beating myself up for failing him is a much more Christlike response—it carries the seeds of humility. 

Our differences sharpen each other

Marriage is messy, and transparency is hard, but I am learning how God intentionally wants to use our differences. 

Case in point, one spouse can be more direct in communication while the other is softer, more sensitive.  At moments that can feel defeating as you feel like you’re speaking different languages.

But instead of being frustrated at each other, or even ourselves, what if we looked at it as an opportunity? What if, by leaning into my spouse’s strengths, I can become a more well-rounded individual in communication? 

Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another,” and I think that should be true of Christlike marriages. Little by little, I see the importance of direct communication (yes, I am sure you are shocked that I am the more sensitive one in the marriage) and my husband understands the value of a soft word fitly spoken. 

Marriage is good and hard. My husband and I now have the privilege of being a part of each other’s sanctification process; we are sharpening each other to become more like Jesus. And these lessons are just the beginning of God’s story in our marriage.

Returning to Egypt

Returning to Egypt

Old habits — we all have some unhelpful patterns that we’ve learned to break, haven’t we? From biting nails to eating too much junk food to refusing to make the bed, we’ve learned the value of making better decisions. But that didn’t happen overnight, and if we are not careful, slipping into those oh-so-familiar habits can become second nature at the drop of a hat. And the same could be said of us spiritually too.

In Deuteronomy 17, God gives clear instructions for what to do if Israel wants a king when they come into the land:

“When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭17:14-17‬

Even though Israel was a distinct nation with God as their King, He knew they would someday want an earthly king and so gave them specific instructions through Moses. One thing I’d never noticed before: The king must not ever cause the people to return to Egypt because “the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’”

God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt, but how many times did they want to go back, even on the journey to the promised land? And now, God is speaking through Moses to the people, “You shall never return that way again.”

The Draw of Egypt

Egypt is the past, the old life of slavery – remember they had cried out to God for deliverance – but when times got tough where did they want to go? Back to Egypt.

The warnings to the future king in Deuteronomy 17: Don’t go to Egypt for horses, don’t marry foreign wives, and don’t gather abundant silver and gold. These instructions were all violated by King Solomon, who, humanly speaking was the wisest man ever, but human wisdom didn’t help him when he disregarded the Word of God. Not only did he go to Egypt for horses, he made a marriage alliance with Egypt, and then proceeded to add wives, concubines, and all sorts of riches, leading his heart, and the nation, astray. Things continued downhill for Israel, as king after king followed his own ways, with the occasional bright spot – a king who followed God “with the whole heart.”

But, for Israel and Judah, running away was the standard. We see it clearly in Jeremiah 41 and 42. The remnant of God’s people were in captivity but rather than listen to the prophet Jeremiah, stay where they were, and trust God to care for them, the people determined to go to Egypt.

God said clearly, “Don’t go to Egypt.” But they did. And their fears – all the things God said would happen – found them in Egypt.

When it comes to our own fears, are we any different?
When things get hard, where do we run, to the Lord or back to our own Egypt – to things that enslaved me in the past but God has delivered me from, yet I’m tempted to run back to when I’m tired, overwhelmed, disappointed…where do I put my hope on the hard days?

The Danger of Our Own Egypt

If fear of man can clamor for our attention, we can be prone to compromise. We make decisions from a place of insecurity because we care more about pleasing people than God. Our identity has become more connected with what man says than God. And, if this sin goes unconfessed, the reaction becomes a consistent pattern, just like the Israelites turning to a human king rather than their Heavenly One.

Or maybe, when life gets overwhelming and bleak, we over-rely on ourselves. We decide we must pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and figure it out on our own instead of asking the Lord for wisdom and direction. In those moments, we exhaust all our human understanding before approaching the throne of grace (going directly against Proverbs 3:5-6 and Hebrews 4:16). And we forget the precious promises of the One who knows all things.

The Hope of Our True Homeland

God in Isaiah 43:2,
“When you pass through the
Waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall
Not overwhelm you;
When you walk through fire you shall
Not be burned,
And the flame shall not consume

Jesus in Matthew 11:28-32,
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

God delivered His people from Egypt and then led them through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Along the way, they were continually tempted to go back to Egypt, forgetting that there was no freedom there, only slavery.

We have been delivered by God the Father, through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of God the Son, and we have the promise of eternity with the Triune God. What an amazing promise! We are given freedom from the enslaving power of sin because of Jesus, but when times get hard, where do we go? To Jesus, who loves, comforts, and gives us rest, or to our old enslaving sin – back to Egypt?

By Your grace Lord, help me always run to You!

Take the Next Step

Take the Next Step

January and February are, for the average Midwesterner, long, cold months. But this year, I experienced one of my most treasured adventures with the Lord during these months. 

Six weeks in a new country with a family I barely knew might sound like a disaster waiting to happen, but that could not be further from the truth in this case. 

I loved every minute of this trip. 

A month and a half later I am still reminiscing about all the Lord taught me and in awe of how attentive He is to our prayers.


In January 2021, I got alone with the LORD to pray for the new year. I spent a solid 36 hours by myself. No phone, no people, just me, my journal, the Word, and some solace with my Father. I had just finished grad school, a major accomplishment. But I didn’t know what was next. What prayers should I even pray?

So I just started writing. I penned a few ideas that I thought, just maybe, God could use somehow. I asked the Lord to direct so that any hopes and dreams on the page would align with the story He wanted to write. 

One of the sweetest gifts the Lord has given me is this: I’ve been able to see firsthand how He works in different countries and cultures. Missions will always be near and dear to my heart, as are missionaries. I asked the Lord if there would be a way He could use the heart for missions He gave me along with the gift of singleness. Maybe there would be a way I could go and encourage and live life with a few of them somehow, someway. 

This wasn’t a prayer I prayed often, but from time to time, the idea would come to mind. A year and a half later, God opened a bigger door than I imagined. I got to spend time with missionaries, and my dad and I even got to do this trip together. How cool is that? 


Before I made my journey to Sol de la Molina (the name of the neighborhood), my normal everyday consisted of working in my home by myself. Yes, sometimes I worked at coffee shops, but for the most part, I worked diligently in my quiet, home office. I was a tad nervous as to how well I could work in a house full of people (and two giant dogs). Would I fall behind?

The opposite turned out to be true. 

From quick chats while I made my coffee to family lunches to jogs after work, good conversations threaded the entire day. They weren’t distractions but connectors, a constant reminder that life was not all about me or my responsibilities. 

Yes, God calls us to be faithful in the jobs He gives us, but without seeing it, I had made my job too central. A little bit of my identity started to get wrapped up in how well I could do in my work and what feedback I received from managers and clients – all thoughts that focused on myself. 

However, in Lima, I became an adopted big sister, daughter, and dear friend. We did life together in a way that brought joy and encouragement that I still struggle to put into words. We helped each other, whether it was making a meal or trying to figure out how to write an essay on math, we jumped in to help. We served together, we laughed together, we prayed together, and we stayed up late watching movies together. Without even realizing it, work became less stressful and burdensome, even with the extra responsibilities I received at that time. 


One of my prayers was that I would jump in wherever needed in my six weeks. The reality was, I didn’t have a clue what that would be like.

A few days into the trip, I was asked if I could do some teaching for the young adult women’s study. I said yes, then immediately this fearful thought: “I just said yes to something I’ve never done. What am I thinking!?”

Teaching is a joy, and I’ve been able to share in various capacities over the years, but never like this—completely in Spanish. How was this going to go? 

I knew the Spirit wanted me to say yes, but that didn’t take the nerves away. I often thought of one of my favorite Elisabeth Elliot quotes, “Sometimes the fear does not subside and you must do it afraid.” 

And that fear kept me coming back to the Lord. I didn’t know exactly how to say what I wanted, I didn’t remember how to conjugate all the verbs correctly, and the list went on. But God. God wanted me to trust Him and take the next step.

And can I tell you teaching was one of my highlights! I still got nervous every time, but I loved sharing the truth from the Word, and God gave me the grace for that day. Obedience often isn’t glamorous but in the eyes of the Lord, our obedience is always beautiful. It’s an outward demonstration that we trust Him and want to walk in His ways, even when we can’t see exactly what’s going on.


Did God need me to go to Peru? No. But He wanted me to. He wanted to use me. 

Years ago I read John Piper’s poem on Job, and there is this line that replays often in my mind: “God is kind in ways that will not fit my mind.” 

God is the creator of the world, the Sovereign One who holds time in His hand. And, He knows My name. He’s given me experiences that He alone orchestrated. And He wants to keep using me, just like He wants to use you. 

God gave me a childhood in South America, an opportunity to learn Spanish at a young age, an enjoyment in living in different cultures, an excitement to travel, and a sweet season of singleness, just to name a few things. He did all of that. No one has pursued me like the Lord. No one knows my life and heart like the Lord, including my own sinful, selfish heart. And yet He still loves me because that is who He is. 

I hope we never move on from being in awe of who He is and what He’s done. And I pray others may see His beauty and character as we walk in obedience in any opportunity He puts before us.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

Pride’s Pesky Perfectionism

Pride’s Pesky Perfectionism

Every facet of life (work, responsibilities, relationships) brings its own stress, but some of us put an exorbitant amount of pressure on ourselves in every, and I mean every, area. Why do we do that?

That’s a question I have been asking myself a lot lately. Why do I put SO much pressure on myself to hit deadlines, follow up with every email, and stay on top of all my tasks? Why do I only feel really good about my to-do list if I can get a little bit ahead (overachiever alert)?

Instead of just saying “Oh my goodness, I feel overwhelmed” I think we have to dig a bit deeper. Yes, certain seasons may be uncharacteristically hard for reasons far beyond our control (family illness, job layoffs, etc.), but those aren’t the scenarios I am zeroing in on.

I am talking about the everyday pressures that add up over time, and before we know it we feel over our heads, frantic, and unsure of our next steps – we spiral fast! We form ongoing mental dialogues and create insurmountable narratives that leave us exhausted and hopeless.

Why We Carry the Weight of the World On Our Shoulders

If I can’t keep up, I don’t have worth. 

There’s one line in the song “Surface Pressure” from Encanto that, since I’ve watched this movie many times with my nieces, sticks out to me every time. “I’m pretty sure I’m worthless if I can’t be of service.” While it may sound dramatic, I teared up the first time I heard it because that’s so often my mentality. I just don’t want to admit it, to myself or others.

If I don’t do this perfectly, “they” are going to be so disappointed in me. 

It’s easy to get off track because serving others and staying on top of responsibilities are admirable actions, right? Yes, but somewhere along the way, we start becoming the solution to everyone’s problem. Sometimes I think our fear goes deeper than we realize: If I don’t go above and beyond, I won’t be seen.

If I don’t work REALLY hard (run myself into the ground), I am not trying hard enough. 

Busyness does not equal significance, but we wear it like a badge. This can stem from a lack of saying “No” to things. God calls us to be faithful, not the Energizer bunny. Sometimes being busy is easier in the moment because then we don’t have to deal with our own hearts. Are we angry about a situation? Disappointment in a friend? Trying to avoid making some important life decisions?

All three lines of thought overlap. Do you see the main commonality in all of them? Each fear places the self at the center. And when we try to be self-sufficient saviors to our daily problems, we feel weighed down.

What Does This Show About Our Theology?

At first this question might seem like a leap but stick with me. When we follow the narratives above, we are inherently saying what we believe about God in that moment. And this is sobering.

If I can’t keep up, I don’t have worth = My identity in Christ is not sufficient.

God has given us all roles, in our jobs, families, friendships, and even in the gifts He’s given us. However, when we begin to tie our identity to any one of those, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

If I don’t do this perfectly, they will be so disappointed in me = The opinion of people matters more than God’s. 

Colossians 3:3 tells us our life is hidden in Christ. In Ephesians 1, Paul tells us how believers are chosen and adopted into God’s family. That is where our security stems from, at least should. That doesn’t negate the importance of working hard or investing intentionally in people. It does take away the angst of trying to keep up with the unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves. We cannot be more accepted than. we already are in Christ.

Does the opinion of a person matter more than God’s? If so, we will always be swinging for the fences. Praise and encouragement have their place (Hebrews 10:24-25), however, if we aim to please people (the exact opposite of 2 Cor 5:9), other imperfect broken people, our efforts will never be enough. Yet we still try, and before we know it, we are putting our talents into a vending machine that never gives us what we ask for. 

His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love. 

Psalm 147:10-11

If I don’t work really hard, I am not trying enough = Christ’s work wasn’t sufficient. 

The lives of believers are to be marked by peace, as Paul so beautifully states.

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 

Colossians 3:15.

The peace that comes from Christ stems from the life He lived for us. When we complain, He lived in joyful obedience. When we doubt, He trusted His Father completely. When we selfishly choose our own way, He sacrificed His life. When we fear we will keep failing, He rose from the dead to show He was greater than our sin. That’s where peace comes from.

And the work of Christ is complete, nothing can be added or subtracted from the sufficiency of His sacrifice.

Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once and for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.

Hebrews 7:27

In each lie, we are forgetting Who God is, and, in some shape or form, trying to be the solution to all our problems. That’s when the pride of perfectionism sneaks in.  But the position of Messiah has already been filled, and it’s not us!

So how do we fight the pesky pride of perfectionism? We press in and know our God better. As J.I. Packer said in Knowing God:

There is no peace like the peace of those whose minds are possessed with full assurance that they have known God, and God has known them, and that this relationship guarantees God’s favor to them in life, through death and on forever.

Walking Through Church Hurt 

Walking Through Church Hurt 

Words escape you. The leaders you trusted let you down. The reasons vary, as do the weight of those scenarios. You, like many in Christian circles, have experienced church hurt. But the question is, “now what?” Do you ignore the hurt and pretend like everything is ok? Do you tell everyone you know, so they will understand how you’ve been wronged? While our gut reactions may initially lean in one of those ways, those emotional responses still leave us with unresolved aches and wounds that time does not heal. In fact, they can grow worse or infected. How do we walk through church hurt? How can God use that in our lives?

The Blind Side 

However complex or hurtful the scenario, one commonality is this: we didn’t see it coming. The pastors and leaders we confided in, trusted, and admired, committed an act we never anticipated. But sometimes in that mountain of emotion, we experience a shame that’s hard to put into words, especially at the onset. Why didn’t we see this coming? How did we miss the signs? Am I too trusting of people, of church leaders? Did all of this really happen or are things being blown out of proportion? We have questions. We may even be in denial of what has happened, trying to lessen the reality/pain of the situation. 

Admit what’s been hurtful. 

When church leaders step down or are asked to step down, everyone has questions; everyone is taken aback by the unexpected turn of events. Some situations are public with clear reasons, and others are vague and confusing. Maybe a church leader acted in a hurtful way, said sincerely unkind words, or held people to too high of a standard. Perhaps, as one of the singles in the church, you’ve been overlooked time and time again by the leaders who, from the stage, confess that every person in every season of life has a valuable place in the church. Or further still, maybe they grievously sinned against you and others in a way that requires confession and restoration if the church has any hope of continuing.

In short, their words didn’t match their actions. The question is, have you expressed to the Lord why the situation holds such weight or anger for you? For many of us, someone we trusted and confided in, someone we looked up to as an example, failed. We feel the pangs of sincere disappointment. 

But how we respond to the hurt makes all the difference. 

Grieve with the Lord 

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him in truth (Ps.145:18). However messy or cynical we may feel, we must acknowledge those feelings to the Lord. In situations like this, that’s easier said than done. But healing can’t come if we don’t expose the wound to our Physician. What we need most are not explanations or even apologies from those who have wronged us (although the Lord deeply values reconciliation). Our Heavenly Father is the only one that can provide lasting healing. 

But we often push against this because it’s vulnerable. We often like to feel in control of our own emotions and thoughts, but the Psalms teach us to pray through our emotions. David said in Psalm 25, “My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble.” Later, in chapter 88, the psalmist ends by saying darkness is his closest friend. God wants the raw and the messy, for in so doing we are trusting the Lord with all our heart and not leaning on our own understanding.  

Examine Our Own Hearts

Bitterness and resentment can often be hard to see in the middle of such a trial, but the temptation to pass the buck comes so naturally to our sinful hearts. Excuses begin. We no longer want to come to church, to open up in our small group, to serve. Maybe we just need a break from church. 

Those are serious warning signs for us to examine, probing some further examination. Am I coming to church to follow men or to follow Jesus? Sin needs to be dealt with, and leaders need to be held accountable for their wrongs. God deeply cares about us having the right leaders – they should be trustworthy people (just look at the list of qualifications in 1 Tim. 3!). But is it possible my dependence on human leaders has exceeded my dependence on God and His Word? 

As with any trial, we must ask ourselves if we trust God in His sovereignty. The reality is, however hurtful or complicated the situation, God allowed us to experience it. Does that reality bring comfort or anger? The answer reveals the current posture of our hearts. But oh what security comes from resting in God’s sovereignty. 

The reality of God’s sovereignty is the fear-incinerating, boldness-making, perseverance-producing antidote to everything that would ever trouble us. 

Adam Ramsey, Truth on Fire

The Bad Doesn’t Erase the Good 

One complex element of church hurt people experience is the realization, in the aftermath, that some significant, life-changing events occurred during their time in that church: they came to Christ, their mentor baptized them there, they received Gospel-centered counseling that brought rich healing, they experienced the beauty of the godly community… those precious chapters in our lives don’t become any less valuable. Hurt can add complexity to certain memories, but that doesn’t erase the fruit God produced in us during that season.