Church Is Disappointing: Christ Isn't
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The Church Is Filled with Disappointment... but Christ Isn't

Although people in the church can disappoint you, Christ WILL NOT.

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The Church Is Filled with Disappointment... but Christ Isn't

As my summer days at home come to a close, I have begun to think about my experiences over the past four months, and I wanted to reflect on the last year of my life. Last August, I began the terrifying new experience called "college" three hours away from home. The two semesters that I have spent at my small, private college in the rural south have been hard and stressful. Nevertheless, I've loved every single minute of what I can consider to be the hardest eight months of my life. I've made lifelong friends, and I wouldn't change a single thing. That's not why I'm writing this, though.

Let me start from the beginning of what I will call my journey in the church. My grandmother took me to church off and on throughout my childhood, but it wasn't until after my grandfather died the summer before my eighth grade year that we began attending regularly. On August 26th, 2012, I experienced salvation through the grace of Christ. I was baptized in October, and that's when I officially joined my church. I was thirteen years old. Throughout the remainder of middle school and through the summer after I graduated from high school, I attended church religiously (no pun intended). I went every Sunday, Sunday evenings when classes were offered, and every Wednesday night. I even joined my church's sign art team, and I became the president of my small youth group. I was what I considered to be an active member of the church (at least as active as a youth in a small church can be). I had a good relationship with my church. I would have never thought about going somewhere else.

Then, I began college.

Throughout my two semesters at my college, I went home every two weeks. At school, I attended a church in town as often as I thought I could (although it definitely was not enough). When I went home, I went to my church, the church that I had dedicated five years of my life to, and the church that had told me that I was important to them. In late April, I finished my finals for my spring semester of college. For the first few weeks after I finished finals, I went to my church. However, during May, I had to skip a couple of weeks at church due to decorations at cemeteries and work on the farm. During those two weeks NO ONE from church called me, texted me, or even sent a message in a bottle to me. NOTHING. Honestly, that hurt me. They had just told me and the other members of the youth group that we were the future of the church and that we were so important to them. They told us they cared about us. So, I began an experiment to see how much they really cared. I didn't go to church for over a month.

RADIO SILENCE

It hurt. A LOT. The final straw was even more hurtful. I finally decided to attend church one Wednesday night (everyone acted like I'd always been there: even more hurtful). A couple of Sundays later, I found out from my grandmother's caregiver (my grandmother is home bound) that the church she had brought me to for YEARS, MY CHURCH, had decided to hold service at her house. NO ONE had told me.

Now, reaching the end of summer, after four months of being at home, only one person (who I saw in passing) mentioned that she hasn't seen me at church. ONLY ONE. Only one person from the church that I have been a member of for nearly six years, have been a prominent member of the youth group in, and was a base member of the sign art team who helped to keep it going through the years, only one person mentioned that I had not been there. I sat behind the preacher, had sang in front of the church, had given my testimony in front of the church, and I had given part of my life and some of my time to the church who I felt had left me behind.

The church is FULL of disappointment... but Christ isn't.

I am not a person who disagrees with the "establishment" that church is. I believe that having a loving and caring church is one of the must-haves of a Christian (especially a young Christian). Jesus was all about love through fellowship with others. He loved the church. However, I will say that I spent some months wondering why Christ's pride and joy had left me behind. Recently, I have come to the realization that the church is full of disappointment. It's full of overwhelming disappointment because the church is full of people. People are disappointing. Christ isn't. God never left me, even though I questioned my circumstances. God never left me, even though I disagreed with his answers to my prayers. God never left me when I needed him the most. God led me in the right direction, even though, for a long time, I thought it was the wrong one.

God led me to the church that would take care of my needs, at least for the time, who would educate me about the Bible, provide fellowship when needed, and make me feel the Spirit move again. God led me to lovely friends who support me in all that I do, and he provided me with an amazing college family just when I needed the love. Although the people in the church can disappoint you, Christ WILL NOT. Christ will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6). In fact, Christ will lead you to people who are filled with more promise than disappointment. Christ will lead you the way you need to go. A group of supporters is the foundation on which you place all of your hope and trust. They are the people you trust the most, who you don't expect to let you down. Eventually, that foundation may crumble. Christ won't. He never will. I encourage you to trust God to lead you away from people who only bring you down and toward people who will never cease to lift you up.

I'm not placing the blame on my youth group, my fellow church members, or even my pastor. In fact, I'm not placing the blame anywhere. Although it hurts, I realize that life is busy, and I know that not everyone realizes if I've been absent for a while. I'm not that self-important as to believe that. I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. I believe that this happened to me so that I could share the hope of a good future with you. I used to think that I didn't have a testimony. I didn't have something that would make me relatable to others. Now I do. I also have an increased faith in the God who sustains and the God who loves me and you dearly. He has healed my brokenness and my hurt heart, and He will continue to do so for the rest of eternity.

"You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever." - Psalm 30:11-12 (NIV)

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