A Look into My Heart
God’s Word says He hears and answers prayer.
o Do I believe it?
God’s Word says He loves you and will never stop loving you.
o Do I believe it?
God’s Word says He will never leave you or forsake you.
o Do I believe it?
God says if you obey & follow Him, you will be blessed.
o Do I believe it?
God’s Word calls us to be an active member of a local body.
o Am I going to obey?
Do I believe the Bible is God’s Word?
Do I believe the Bible is still relevant today?
So, based on these questions, there is one more question…
o What am I going to do about it?
So, imagine you’re like me. You feel God drawing you to Himself, to be bound together with His people (His family) in the local church. But you know your spouse (the other half of you - the one you love more than yourself - the one you stood before God and said, “Till death do us part”) does not feel that same calling. He does not share the desire or see his need to be part of the local family of the Lord. You know that if you go to church, you go alone. Yet, the decision is yours; he won’t go, but he also won’t stop you. The decision is yours.
So, you make a choice. Sunday is here, and you get up and get ready to attend Sunday services. Good choice! You get dressed, say goodbye, and leave the house…alone. You get in your car and drive away…alone. You get to church and park your car and enter the sanctuary…alone. Oh, you may say hello to random people on the way from your car to the pew, but you still feel very much alone.
Now, as you find your seat, you look around and see couples sitting together, the husband’s arm draped lovingly around his wife’s back. You see mothers and fathers sitting with their children – all in a row together - chatting quietly with other families and other couples. And there you sit…alone…thinking of the one you love who is sitting at home…also alone…and now you feel guilty because if you had just stayed home, neither of you would be alone. But you made a choice, and despite how you feel at this moment, it was the right choice and contrary to how you feel, you are not alone!
As you sit there in the pew, you see other women in the church. They look at you and smile, some may even say good morning as they pass. They say they’re glad you came. They ask how you’re doing, and you always say, “Fine.” Yet, inside you are so very far from fine, inside you feel you are a failure, you think each of these women is judging you and finding you lacking. You just “KNOW” they think things like, “Why can’t she get her husband and family to come to church?” “What kind of wife attends without her spouse?” “What kind of mother attends without her children?” “FAILURE!!” “Lousy Wife!” “Bad mother!” Now, as they go to sit with their friends and family, you withdraw into yourself and feel not only alone but inadequate and worthless.
Well, once service is over, you slip out of the sanctuary and wind your way through the lobby without speaking to anyone. You go straight to your car and drive straight home. Home - where you aren’t alone and where you now feel like you have to hurry to fix lunch like a good wife and try to make up for leaving your spouse alone for the last two hours…make up for being the lousy wife you feel like you are.
So you go through the motions… and you pray. You smile and say all the right things… and you pray. You go to work, you go home, you care for your family…and you pray. And when you don’t see a change, you begin to think your prayers don’t count. You've made too many mistakes, too many bad choices, You haven’t given enough, read enough, witnessed enough…oh sure, you believe God loves you, but not enough to hear your prayer and save those you love.
You know what the Bible says:
Deut. 31:6 – I will never leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them for the LORD your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deut. 31:8 – The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Isa. 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, and I will uphold you with my might right hand.
But you are discouraged. You begin to think those verses don’t pertain to you. They are promises for other people…people who have said the right prayers, followed God’s rules, given the right gifts and …of course…people that attend church with their family. Those are the people whose prayers get answered.
Loving Those Who Feel Alone in the Crowd
In 1 Samuel 25, we read the story of Abigail. She was a beautiful, wise woman, but her husband made some very foolish choices. Abigail’s wisdom saved her husband, family, and household from being killed by David and his men. It also kept David from “murder and from carrying out vengeance” with his own hands. The Lord judges her husband for his foolishness and shortly after he died. Abigail found herself a widow, but not for long.
When David heard her husband was dead, he sent for Abigail, and she became his wife. Although you would think that marrying David would make everything better, during the following years, there were many challenges. She was kidnapped. David committed adultery with Bathsheba. He married many other wives and had numerous sons and a daughter. On top of all of that, the Bible tells us that Abigail had one son, Chileab, that most likely died very young.
Abigail experienced much grief and sorrow and lived most of her life alone in the crowd.
Many women in our church can identify with that feeling. They feel alone in the crowd. For a variety of different reasons, they come to church alone, but we want to make sure that they know they are not alone – that they belong here and we all love them. We are starting a ministry called Abigail’s Sisters. The focus will be on finding ways to encourage, support, care for, and nurture these women at Maranatha. We want to actively walk with them while they walk with Christ. If you would like to be involved in the Abigail’s Sisters ministry in some way, please contact Marcia Rice and let her know.
We want every woman at Maranatha (even after all the years of worshiping alone, studying alone, serving alone, leaving alone, and growing alone) to be able to say with confidence: “My Savior loves me, and I am NOT alone!” He has called me by name, and I am His!