Discouragements on Mother’s Day

There are days when I’m encouraged by what I see at church and other days when I’m not. As I write this, I feel okay. But I can’t discard the many moments today when I felt a mix of negative emotions.

The kids weren’t paying attention during Bible study today. Partly because of how Ariel led it. The kids should be more respectful and Ariel should try to make the sometimes difficult language of Romans more relevant to the kids.

Almost no one was singing during praise today. Even the ones that were completely fluent in English. Maybe they were embarrassed to sing? I close my eyes these days not necessarily because I want to focus on the lyrics and mean what they say but more so that I don’t want to see that no one’s lips are moving. It looked so dead out there. Where is the joy with trembling?

Justin and Austin are (still, after how many years?) pretty immature. Justin needs to act like an older brother and be a role model instead of always putting his younger brother down and treating him flippantly.

The confessions of sin we read together every week are, in themselves, solid. But I’m afraid that Ariel reads too quickly and the sentences can be too long for someone who is still learning English.

The assurance of pardon, for some reason, didn’t give me assurance. I think it was the way he read it. It’s so hard to describe what it was that kept me from really “getting” it.

The subsequent exchange of peace was a little dreary. On a good day, all the kids are up, shaking hands at the very least, and I’m excited to go around and give a warm rub on the shoulders to the boys. Today, some of them didn’t even get up. Eye contact and smiles were hard to come by.

It took me a while to become convicted by the passage today. It was Isaiah 6:1-8, a familiar passage, one whose theme relates closely to my last blog entry: the holiness of God. Despite the routineness of hearing the same three-point format, I gradually became convicted of what the Word itself was saying. The random bits of background information Ariel gave started to stick and opened my eyes to the Word. At the same time that I became excited at what I was finally “getting,” I felt sad because no one else around me seemed to care.

Woe is me! I am lost! I am ruined! I am undone! I am unclean! When the word “woe” is used in the Bible, it’s directed toward another person. But Isaiah directed it toward himself! The prophet, who pronounced judgment on the people, in the presence of God, pronounced judgment on himself! Burning coal – pain was required for atonement. There was a scene in Iron Man where the terrorist leader puts a hot coal right next to the doctor’s head to try to get him to spill the beans. Can you imagine having a hot coal in your mouth, searing your tongue and the hyper-sensitive tissue inside your cheeks? It would hurt A LOT. After all this, after the sheer terror Isaiah experiences, does he run away in fear? No, the sweetness of atonement leads to a willing spirit: “Here am I! Send me.” This can be the only proper response.

There were small signs of encouragement despite all this. I press on.


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