Many of us go to church looking for something it cannot give. When we do, we open ourselves to hurt, frustration, and disappointment. Many people who go to church looking for what only God can give end up unfulfilled, unhappy, and disillusioned.
Have you ever felt that way?
When We Replace God With Church
Many of us unknowingly or unwittingly allow the church to take the place of God in our lives. We go to church looking for unconditional love. We go to church for all-the-time encouragement. We go to church to feel belongingness and a warm welcome despite whatever we have done. Sadly, we don't get that there.
Don't get me wrong – I will not sugar-coat the church's inability to give what we need and want. The church isn't perfect: It's a body of believers who are still human even though they have Christ inside of them. It's a bunch of people who need grace as much as anyone does. It's a group of people who have hurts and issues of their own.
As such, we should not be surprised to go to church and find some people giving us a cold shoulder, ignoring our warm, innocent greetings, and our outstretched hands.
Yes, the church will hurt you. It will disappoint you. It will not give you all that you need and all that you want. It will not be the most comforting place you will ever find. It will not always encourage you, even if every person in the church is mandated by God to do so (see 1 Thessalonians 5:11). It will disappoint you.
But what do you do when it does?
Hiding Under the Shadow of His Wings
I'm pretty sure you've at least heard of or know a person who has been hurt by the church. I know some of them. Maybe you've been hurt by your church, too. Here's something for you:
Even if the church hurts you or hates you, God loves you still. It's to Him you should come.
The Bible tells us that hurt will come even in the church:
• Paul wasn't accepted by the church at first because people were scared of him (see Acts 9).
• Gentile believers weren't accepted by the Jewish believers because they were uncircumcised (see Acts 15:1-5).
• Even Jesus Himself was rejected by those whom He came to save (see John 1:11).
What do we do? We run to God. We run to Jesus Christ. We go to church because we love God and we will fellowship with His people, no matter how imperfect they are. We go to church because we want to share how good God is to us and remind each other of His Words. We go to church because we want to rejoice with those who rejoice in God.
We Go to God
"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.'" – Psalm 91:1-2