Tribulation

by Tammy on August 20, 2018

I have been spending more time in God’s word lately. I try to listen to several chapters every morning before work. Even though I am not actually reading it, I am getting a lot out of listening. It has really jump started my desire to get back on track with my Christian walk. I have gone to church for the past three weeks and I think I have found my church home. I tried four different churches and settled on one today. It is quite different from what I am used to, but at some point in time, I finally realized that church is not about the music and the emotion. It is about finding one where the pastor teaches a Biblically sound message. My new church consists of an old(er) gentleman leading the singing part of worship accompanied only by a piano. There is not a guitar or a drum kit in sight. The choir consists of eleven individuals, one of those being the piano player. But today, as we sang Victory in Jesus, I was slightly overcome with emotion. As I said, I long ago got over my desire for a touchy-feely kind of Christian experience, so I was a bit surprised.

It actually got even better when the pastor gave the back story to the song. It was written by a man named E.M. Bartlett after he had a debilitating stroke that left him bedridden until he died two years later at the age of 56. It is an exuberant song that talks about healing and hope of eternal life. I think about people like Bartlett, Fanny Crosby, and Horatio Spratford, who in the midst of tribulation and suffering penned songs that never brought attention to their suffering, but rather focused on God’s mercy and grace. This kind of ties in with a bible study I’ve been listening through for the past couple of days. I stumbled across a site called Naomi’s Table and started listening to a study on 1 and 2 Peter. Peter discusses the privilege of suffering for Jesus’s sake, and those hymn writers, although they may not have been persecuted and martyred, suffered from various issues: stroke, blindness, and utter loss. Yet through it all, they maintained their joy in the Lord.

I have not doubt that tribulation will come my way, too. I have already suffered some. I spent more than two years convinced that my marriage was over. The man I married essentially disappeared and I was left with a stranger, all because he decided that he could no longer pretend to believe in God. It was the worst time of my life, but it was also the best. I was talking to a friend at work and I shared a bit of my story with her, and she was convinced that my husband is married to me because I am going to help him find his faith. However, I do not think that is necessarily accurate. I believe that everything happened because it changed me. His denial of faith was devastating, but it did not draw me away from my faith; in fact, it drew me closer to the Lord. I had an indescribable peace during that time. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted out of my marriage more than you can imagine, and I hated the fact that I’d allowed myself to fall into that situation, but in the midst of my struggle, I discovered that I am strong. I discovered that I am independent. I do not need any human on this earth to define me. I only need God.

My husband may believe that I am foolish to believe in an “invisible sky daddy” or whatever he thinks I believe in, and he may be surprised that “someone as intelligent as me could be so stupid,” but the joke is really on him, because he is back to coming to church with me, and I think it’s pretty foolish to spend an hour and a half of a day in a building with a bunch of people worshiping a deity you don’t believe in. But I digress…

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Susan August 21, 2018 at 5:23 pm

Hi Tammy, I forgot you had this place and I enjoyed what you wrote. I love to hear the back stories. I do miss the intimate worship our church use to have when it was small. I miss the old songs too. Our church music ministry consist of mostly younger aged people and it is good to see the younger generation worshipping!

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