Update: Anabaptist church in the Bronx & an invitation to a day of prayer and fasting, April 3

Each day I look forward to updates from Rich about what their church has been up to. It isn’t possible for me to do what they are doing, though I would long to do so, so for now I do the part I can: pray, share their updates, and contribute financially. A week ago I didn’t know he and Sandy are pastoring a church, and knew nothing about their church, and now  they have left a ‘heart print’ on my life, and many of you. Following is his update:

***A few disclaimers to our friends and acquaintances. As I read through your kind, thoughtful comments from last night’s post and noticed that many friends shared the post, I got a bit uneasy. I mean, our family and close friends and church know that my breath stinks if I don’t brush my teeth or take a breath mint, and I can blow up a bathroom with the best of them. Another way to put this? We are just ordinary people serving an extraordinary God. Some of you seem to have been preparing nominations for sainthood for Rich and Sandy. Please don’t waste your postage. We are ordinary people serving an extraordinary God. We really do appreciate your prayers! Seriously.

This global, national, and local crisis is serious, despite those who think it is just a vast left-wing conspiracy to unseat the powers that be. Political hacks exist in every party and in every community, but this is more serious than any political hack. I am suggesting to our church group and to any other believers out there who are interested, please consider making Friday, April 3rd, a Day of Prayer and Fasting.

II Chronicles 7:12-14 is very relevant for such a time as this. “When I…send a pestilence…if my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” The people of God will always make the right choice when we humble ourselves, and pray and seek the face of God, and repent of anything we need to repent of. Fasting provides us a chance to identify more closely with the suffering that others are facing, and to direct ourselves away from our food [and other] addictions and towards God.

2 Chronicles 7:14

I am hesitant to mention names of people to pray for in this public forum, but if you are interested in a list of prayer requests email us at uwriterich@gmail.com

Friends have been asking how to give to us as we help here. We have a church PayPal account, bjcgive@gmail.com. The church received $880 in the past two days from friends interested in helping us as we help our community. If you want to give now, we will designate it for ministry for EMS workers, ER workers, and other persons affected by this crisis. We have a friend who lost his job, a friend whose business is struggling, and the friend on the ventilator we mentioned last night has some financial difficulties. Brianna said that we ought to see if we could start a fund to help people who are out of a job who can’t pay their rent. I think that’s a great idea. Unfortunately, this struggle is going to hit many parts of the US and world. We are in the middle of it right here in NYC, but there are places around the US and around the world that are soon going to be in the middle of it, either with the medical crisis or the economic crisis, and probably both. If you would rather give directly to us as a family you could PM us and we could send you our mailing or PayPal address.

We are hoping to recruit some help to take another set of sandwiches to the Jacobi Medical Center this Friday. I already asked Orville, our Christian friend on Boston Road whose restaurant is slow, if we can order our sandwiches from him. And he agreed to pay another friend who lost his job to come in and help him prepare the sandwiches. It’s probably not “trickle-down economy” for those who know the term. Maybe we’ll call it “Living Waterfalls” economy.

Brendan Weaver here at Believers in Jesus Church spearheaded some food distribution and prayer today, and sent an update to us, which I include below:

**Our church provided lunch for the EMS Station nearest us today. We provided food for 35 people including platters of sub sandwiches and a cookie platter from Subway, single-serving chip bags and drinks from Aldi. Suzie is the little Asian lady at Subway that I have worked with over the past two days for the food orders. I had explained our mission to her yesterday and today she seemed delighted to see me and was eager to help figure out exactly how much food would be need. Both days she went the extra mile to give discounts. Today as I was leaving, I bid her farewell with a “God bless.” Her response was, “No, God bless you.”

At the EMS Station it was a bit confusing to find the main entrance so I approach a running ambulance with a crew sitting in the front and explained my reason for being there. They directed me to the front door then they went inside to get help to carry the food. Probably 6 or 8 EMTs and Paramedics came out to help carry in the bags. They were all enthusiastic with their appreciation and thanks including cries of “God is good.” They asked me to come into the station where I met the desk lieutenant and EMT Guzman, who was my contact from yesterday. All were very grateful and appreciative that the church would reach out in this way. The lieutenant said about 50% of their staff is out sick and their call volume is higher than normal, but they are doing okay because they have received mutual aid support in the form of EMTs and paramedics from other states to help staff their ambulances. I spoke with them for a few minutes and then asked if it would be okay if we prayed together. They agreed and the group of 6-8 of us in the room had prayer together asking for God’s protection on them and our city. I explained that many churches are reaching out from across the USA wanting to know how to help and that they please let us know if they could think of any other way beyond food and prayer that we could be of assistance. I also made sure to attach prayer cards from Stan & Sharon to each platter of sandwiches and cookies and also gave them a stack of prayer cards. As I was leaving, they were sending out a message on their radio that the food had arrived. One thing is sure, the gift was appreciated and FDNY EMS Station 20 was blessed today.**

Ecc 11:1 Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.
1 Cor 3:7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

If you can join us, let’s make Friday, April 3rd, a Day of Prayer and Fasting.

Rich***

*****

About a week or two into the realization that there is a serious pandemic on our hands, and it isn’t only media hype, I found the photo (above), added 2 Chronicles 7:14, and made it my Facebook profile pic. At the time I had forgotten that the verses prior talk about God sending a pestilence, followed by this call to repentance. A pestilence is a fatal epidemic disease. It wasn’t until Rich wrote about it that this detail came back to me.

For many months, even years. there have been prophetic voices speaking into this, warning the people of God to repent, to turn back to His ways, or there will be consequences. From worshipping materialism, to holding our own beliefs as ‘salvation’ — or our good name — to disregarding Amos 5, where God makes it clear that He is sick of ‘worship’ when justice and mercy have lost their place, we need to repent and turn our hearts back to Him. If you want to know what is important to God, read Amos 5:

A Lament and Call to Repentance
Hear this word, Israel, this lament I take up concerning you:
“Fallen is Virgin Israel,
never to rise again,
deserted in her own land,
with no one to lift her up.”
This is what the Sovereign Lordsays to Israel:
“Your city that marches out a thousand strong
will have only a hundred left;
your town that marches out a hundred strong
will have only ten left.”
This is what the Lord says to Israel:

“Seek me and live;
    do not seek Bethel (a holy place).
do not go to Gilgal (Joshua 4:20 – an alter),
do not journey to Beersheba (God’s promises, Genesis 26:23–33).
For Gilgal (the alter) will surely go into exile,
and Bethel (the holy place) will be reduced to nothing.[a]
Seek the Lord and live,
or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire;
it will devour them,
and Bethel will have no one to quench it.
There are those who turn justice into bitterness
and cast righteousness to the ground
He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
who turns midnight into dawn
and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the land—
the Lord is his name.
With a blinding flash he destroys the stronghold
and brings the fortified city to ruin.
10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court
and detest the one who tells the truth.
11 You levy a straw tax on the poor
and impose a tax on their grain.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
you will not live in them;
though you have planted lush vineyards,
you will not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your offenses
and how great your sins.
There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times,
for the times are evil.
14 Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.
15 Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy
on the remnant of Joseph.
16 Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, says:
“There will be wailing in all the streets
and cries of anguish in every public square.
The farmers will be summoned to weep
and the mourners to wail.
17 There will be wailing in all the vineyards,
for I will pass through your midst,”
says the Lord.
The Day of the Lord
18 Woe to you who long
for the day of the Lord!
Why do you long for the day of the Lord?
That day will be darkness, not light.
19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion
only to meet a bear,
as though he entered his house
and rested his hand on the wall
only to have a snake bite him.
20 Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—
pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?
21 I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
    your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
    I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream!
25 “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king,
the pedestal of your idols,
the star of your god—
which you made for yourselves.
27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus (a well-watered land),”
says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.
    Says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.

 

Do I think God is ‘sending’ the current epidemic?  No. Not at all. Disease is the result of our sin and fallenness. And when we cut God out, or turn from Him to idolatry, there are consequences. And idolatry is giving our primary allegiance and focus to anything other than God. It is exalting any other thing to the place reserved for Jesus, for God. Whether a physical idol, a belief system, or any other thing that I hold as part of my salvation or give my love and allegiance, we have a definite problem with idolatry in churches today. And God has stepped back. He has not abandoned us, but He has not prevented the consequences of sin from doing great harm. It is up to us to humble ourselves and cry out to Him.

I have written about it before, and it bears repeating. God calls believers to repent for the healing of the nation. I invite you to join in, Friday April 3, to fast and pray for our nation, to repent of what you need to repent of, and to stand in the gap for all impacted by this terrible devastation.

 

As always,

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2020

 

Update: Anabaptist Church’s ministry moves Bronx nurse to tears

Last evening Rich shared an update that left me in tears. It is so beautiful, the doors God opens, and how the care of His children gives the weary frontline workers a safe place:

***Quick report on today’s opportunities to deliver Subway/ DD/deli sandwiches, sodas, box of Joe (DD) and box of hot chocolate to the ER workers at Jacobi Medical Center. Our contact, the director of communications at Jacobi, asked us to meet her at the ambulatory entrance to the trauma center, so we pulled up there and offloaded our food and drinks, enough for about 60 people. Our friends Stan and Sharon from our church made these cool little cards with verses on one side and “If you need prayer” contact information on the back and we taped the cards on the sandwich wrappers. Sandy prayed with our hospital friend who received the food with gratefulness. She said that her father has just been admitted to the hospital this morning, and she talked about the stresses of this time at the hospital. She also took a small packet of masks that our friend Sharon had sewn and told Sandy that they could definitely use these masks for patients and other people who come to the ER.

Our friend Brendan from our church got the Subway sandwiches, so it was a neat team effort. Our daughter Bri was closing down the Eastchester Dunkin’ Donuts this afternoon because the owner (he has seven Dunkin’ Donuts) needs to consolidate his dwindling work force. So the owner told Bri to give the doughnuts and bagels to her parents to give to the hospital. Sandy returned that afternoon to DD to pick up those items and she spoke with a police officer in line. She had the opportunity to speak with that police officer and pray with him, and he recommended that she take the free doughnuts to the EMS station. Sandy thought to herself that this is what she loves to do, pray for people.  She took the doughnuts and bagels and headed off to where she thought was the local EMS station, but the GPS took her back to Jacobi. So there she was at the Jacobi Medical Center. Sandy sat in the car and prayed about what to do. She saw an ambulance pull up and decided to go up and offer the food to the paramedics. A male nurse came up behind her from getting out of his car and said “May I help you?” She said “I just came to encourage you today.” He lifted his glasses to look at her and told her “I had to step away from the madness for a little while and take a break.” The man started to cry and Sandy asked if she can pray for him. She stood there, praying for this big male nurse, with tears running down his cheeks. The man told her that he and his coworkers had just stepped outside earlier that afternoon and held hands and prayed, because there is so much stress. Here is this big guy, broken up and crying, telling her “I just had to step away from it for a while.”

Brianna has two coworkers who have each lost family members to COVID-19 in the past week. One of her co-workers lost her Grandpa, and they couldn’t even go to visit him while he was in the hospital. Another of her co-workers lost her Uncle. The co-worker who lost her Grandpa is now at home, sick.

Our friend up the block on Corsa Avenue is perhaps a few years older than us, and she has been hospitalized since Friday with COVID-19. Today they had to put her on the ventilator, which seems kind of like her health is headed in the wrong direction. Please pray for our friends and neighbors around here, and pray for us. The “news” out there gets more real when it is the news right here in our community.

Rich ***

Today they planned to serve the local EMS.

Again, if you would like to financially support the costs of this ministry,  the following email is the church’s PayPal: bjcgive@gmail.com

******

One medical professional, I am told by a friend, had to wrap over a dozen dead bodies in black plastic yesterday, March 31, 2020. Unless we are them, we cannot possibly imagine being responsible for that task. The strain of this, knowing that with each infected body they are exposing themselves to this virus, and with that exposure they risk infecting their families at home, is almost too much for some. Yet they press on, knowing they, too, could be that body. You don’t work that closely with death and not feel your own mortality. It is no small wonder that a medical professional would be reduced to tears when a kind strangers shows up to care and pray.

It is my hope that hearing these inspiring stories will give more believers the courage to be bold in love, practical service and prayer in this COVID-19 crisis. We live with pre-conceived notions about the people around us. A big tough nurse, on the outside, does not show us a tender soul on the inside, taxed to the endth degree by present circumstances. To be surrounded by thousands dead and dying in your city and hospital, as these healthcare professionals are in New York, would be most difficult. Not only is there sickness and death, there is the awareness that loved ones are being torn apart in their time of suffering.  That is a form of suffering all its own; one these healthcare providers are obligated to enforce. One we do well to be aware of, to pray for the healthcare providers, all frontline workers, the sick and dying, and to support those in our lives who are isolated in ways that wear down the mind and body.

I think of my brother fighting a hard battle with cancer. He has been courageous, as has his wife. We, as family, have tried to visit regularly — with some able to go more frequently than others — and cook for them. Now they are isolated, going through this battle without the physical presence of friends and loved ones. I hear her voice, the loneliness and heaviness of the journey, and ache for them.

These are difficult times for many. I am more introvert than extrovert — ambivert would be most accurate — and adjust easily to being home, or being alone, though I do miss friends from time to time, and especially miss seeing our children and grandchildren. For many this is depressing and lonely. For those in abuse situations, this is a terrifying time. As someone who grew up in violence, I remember well how times of stress and financial hardship escalated violence and death threats. For those spouses and children, this isolation is a most hellish thing.

In some way most of us, or all of us, have been impacted, in big or small ways, and for many this increases the risk of depression and suicide. As believers in Jesus, we have love and hope to offer, even if only by extending a listening ear.

For this reason the churches who insist on meeting, rather than allowing themselves to be ‘scattered to serve’, boggle my mind. Whatever the motive — whether to prove they can do their thing, or to keep the money rolling in, or whatever else might be their motives — it does nothing to convince the world of love. Absolutely nothing. It is selfish.

If we would all lay aside our temporary losses and call one another to love, prayer and kind deeds, would we not exemplify the love of Jesus beautifully? This is what drew me to the little Anabaptist church in NYC. They are heroes. They are human. They are not seeking to be noticed or idolized. (So please don’t). But they are living the love of Jesus well. They are preaching with their hands and their feet, and encouraging through prayer. They inspire me… make me ask, “What can I do to show His love?”

And amid the pressure of completing this term of university, I’m trying to find little ways of making a difference.  In the weeks and months ahead, we will have opportunity to serve our fellow mankind,  to rise up like we never have before, to carry the burden of the inevitable cost and consequences resulting from this tragic time. We need to prepare our hearts today for this call, and the doors God will open for us to take His love into the world around us.

To have one foot firmly planted in the present reality — so we can be present and supportive, and the other firmly rooted in eternity, with a heart invested in Jesus and people, this is my desire and my commitment.

My prayer for you, for me, for us today is quite simple, “Jesus, hold your children tonight. The lost ones. The found ones. The struggling ones. The secure ones. We invite you to be present in our stories, in every part. Help us, who know you, to be mindful of those in need around us… to lean in and listen to the fears around us and offer love and compassion… to hear the hearts that feel lost and alone, and offer encouragement. Help us to represent you well. Always. And in all ways. Thank you for loving us in our brokenness. Now, help us love others in their brokenness too. Amen.”

NOTE: If you have a good news story you would like me to share in the midst of the tragedy of COVID-19 , send it to my personal email. There will be no shortage or tragedy in coming days, and that tragedy needs to be acknowledged. But we also need to hear encouraging stories, and see humans coming together to support one another, and blessing those who are in the front lines.

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2020

A Child’s Prayer for His Molester

The young boy walked into the coffee shop, a shy smile on his face when he saw me. I rose from my place, walked over to greet him and invite him to my table. Tall for his age, at ten, he would have passed, easily, for twelve.

We met first when I popped in on a friend, and he and his mother were there. My friend steered the conversation, almost abruptly, toward my work with sex abuse victims; her reasons soon revealed; it had recently come to light that the woman’s son, Perry, was molested. In the ensuing moments, I heard a story of betrayal and grief, as raw pain spilled from a mother’s heart.

Listening to her story, I thought how, moments earlier, Perry had come to tell his mother he was heading to the park. Upon seeing me, he stretched out his hand and introduced himself, confidently, holding eye contact–something that stood out from one so young. As Perry’s mom shared how they had walked with him, reassuring him, and removing guilt for the crime committed against him, assuring him it was not his fault, his confidence made sense. Nonetheless, she wondered if I would consider meeting with him. They had involved a social worker, a counselor and done all they could, but felt he needed someone, and feared he was withholding something.

When he walked into the coffee shop, the confidence replaced with a shy smile, I wasn’t surprised. What young boy looks forward with great enthusiasm to talking with a virtual stranger about being abused? Still, he had said he wanted to talk to me, when his mother explained what I do.

We chatted at length about school and what he loves to do, his hobbies, and other casual conversation. When we were both comfortable, the conversation turned…

In the ensuing moments, I heard the heart-breaking struggle of a child, stripped of innocence and hurled into a world of knowledge that he should not have discovered for many years. He told me how the neighbour boys made fun of him, because he had tried to do to another little boy what was done to him, and got caught.

“How does it make you feel, now, talking about it?” I asked.

“I feel bad,” he said, head bowed.

“Do you know why it makes you feel bad?” I asked.

“Because it was wrong. I shouldn’t have done it,” he said.

“Right. You told the social worker, and apologized, right?” I asked. He nodded. “So what do you do with those feelings?” I asked.

Perry shrugged, then looked up at me with tears in his eyes, “I talk to God.”

“What do you say?” I asked.

“I tell Him I’m sorry. And I ask Him to forgive me,” he said.

“Do you understand that He has forgiven you?” I asked.  Again, he nodded. “What else do you say to God?”

“I ask God to forgive the person who hurt me, to help him never hurt anyone again…” he said.

In that moment, in the middle of a conversation with a little boy, I wanted to kneel down and weep for the children who are so carelessly overlooked, many times. Instead, we continued the conversation and I reassured him, saying I believed he would never hurt anyone again, and how kind it was that he would pray for the person who hurt him.

canstockphoto7696245

Later,  alone, I wept. Is there anything more heart-breaking than a child, whose innocence is so disrupted, carrying the burden & consequence of their abuser’s sin? And is there anything more touching than to hear his voice, praying for his abuser? If I could have captured that sweet voice, sharing his prayer, I would like to think it might have changed thousands of lives…

Oh, church, I plead with you to hear this little boy’s heart cry. He is not the first child to carry this burden and pray this prayer. Tragically, he won’t be the last. His innocence was stolen, creating in him a temptation to hurt other children. Fortunately, he got help before he ever reached his teen years, and the likelihood that he will offend, with appropriate support, is low, but he will always carry the scars of what was done against him.

We must rise up–pastors, parents and men and women of God–and stand in the gap for these little ones! God does not take lightly the violation of a child’s spirit. It is the only sin for which Jesus said, it would be better that a millstone were hung about that person’s neck, and they be drowned in the sea.  He goes on to say that a child’s angel always beholds the face of God, indicating there is an intimate connection between God and children, and angels and children. Should we, God’s sons and daughters, not reflect that same care? Should we not look upon such injustice and act?

Matthew 18:10
“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

God is raising up warriors to stand in the gap for these little ones. He is calling pastors, teachers, parents and godly men and women…. Will you turn a blind eye, or will you do the right thing, and honour God?

Love

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Get updates on Between 2 Gods (Memoir scheduled for release on March 3, 2015)

To Donate: Generations Unleashed, and Help Victims of Sexual Abuse in the Church

(Tax Receipts will automatically be issued for all donations over $20)

Praying Like A Pagan: A Challenge from My Sons

I wasn’t planning to write a blog tonight, but, after tucking my two youngest into bed, I decided to take a few minutes to do so.

Tonight Tim & I had a great night. We met with a handful of couples for an evening of prayer and confession. Well, it started with one individual sharing some things with me a few weeks ago, and wanting to pray through some past ‘stuff’ and some ongoing struggles.

Within the context of meeting in a group such as this, we had never had such a meeting. It was new… the unknown. And it was beautiful. It turned out to be an evening of prayer, of reaching out to God as a group. The presence of God was sweet and powerful. The perfect ‘ending’ to an intense week.

We returned home shortly after 10:00. Todd, thirteen, and Kordan, ten, were ready for bed, but not asleep. There was a bit of a dispute between them about who would tuck them in bed, Daddy or me. In the end I was the one who went up.

Everyone in our family knows that when I do prayer time, I sometimes get carried away… well, maybe usually… and I ‘chatter’ to God about all kinds of things. When they were little it worked great for putting them to sleep. I would pray, and pray and pray, until they fell sound asleep. I didn’t necessarily do it for that reason, it was just a great ‘bonus’ to my time with God.

As always we prayed together when I tucked them in. First Todd prayed, then Kordan, and finally I prayed. Both prayed their unique prayers, but each included, “…thank you that tomorrow is Saturday, and we will clean a little and play a lot….” Todd added a ‘hopefully’ to the end of that prayer. And then it was my turn.

I did the usual and prayed a while, but tonight I caught myself and wrapped it up relatively quickly.

Immediately when I said ‘amen’, and before I could leave the room, Kordan said, “Wait, Mommy, wait… Turn on the ‘head light’ (meaning the light on the head of the bed)… there’s something I want to show you.”

He pulled a box from the head of the bed and I assumed it was something he had made, but, as he turned the box, I recognized his Bible box. He said something about the book of Matthew, and having learned something in Bible Quizzing at church.

He looked up the book of Matthew at the front of the Bible, then started paging through, looking for page 1051. A few chapters in he decided to flip large sections and get there faster. In Matthew he started skimming, eventually asking Todd for a bit of help for the chapter and then scanning for verses. He said it was about prayer.

The heading ‘Prayer’ caught my eye so I pointed to it. He held it up and I read it to him. When I got to verse seven, Kordan said, with a laugh, “Yeah, that’s the one, that’s what I wanted to show you.”

The verse says, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words…”

Both boys laughed their little hearts out at their own humour and wit, at having found a verse, just for me. “That’s you mom… that’s what you do.”

I laughed, and explained, “It’s a bit different. I don’t think I’ll be heard for talking a lot.” Then I added, “I just think God likes to listen to me chatter.”

They argued that maybe that was just my perception, not reality, and laughed again.

It was a fun and light ‘topping’ to a week filled with ministry, and seeing the power of God work in breaking the chains of silence, victimization and abuse.

It is no wonder God tells us to become like little children. There is freedom in laughter, freedom in humour, and freedom in the love, hugs and kisses of our children.

I finished tucking them in, my heart full with the wonder of being blessed with God’s love through our children. I said it in my prayer, and I’ll say it again. I am so thankful for our family.

And my prayers… well, they may continue to be as long as that of the pagans, but I still think God likes to listen to me chatter.

© Trudy Metzger

Return to first post in Sexual Abuse Series

First Post in Spiritual Abuse Series

A Cup of Coffee & Persistent Prayer

With my Tassimo coffee disk in place, I popped down the top and pressed the start button. “Unable to read card.”What?? It’s my favourite morning coffee! (And the last disk!) I like it with way too much cream  to be healthy, making it a rich caramel liquid. No sugar, though. That would hate to ruin a perfect cup of coffee. (Now, if it’s a bad coffee, sugar is acceptable.)

Thinking I must have inserted it incorrectly, I lifted the top, adjusted it slightly, and popped it down again.

“Unable to read card,” it said again.

Oh dear! But it’s my favourite morning coffee!! And, though I don’t, because I have zero alcohol in my body, I feel like I have a terrible hangover. I need that coffee this morning. Need it! This is not a want situation here… This is critical for my well-being…

I removed the disk again, wiped everything up, just in case, and tried again. “Unable to read card.”

That’s it! I will win this thing! I walked to the knife block with determination. I grabbed a sharp knife. Took the used disk, that I had just pulled out, cut off the scanner bar, placed it directly on top of the other one. I popped it back in and…

VOILA!!

I have me a cup of my favourite morning brew. Mmmm… Mmm… Mmm! The coffee isn’t anything exotic or extravagant. It’s Nabob’s 100% Columbian.  It’s basic. It’s a full flavoured taste that, in my mind competes with nothing else. And to think I’d get ‘can’t read’ on my last disk. The bottom of the barrel. On a morning when I need it most!

Okay… okay… It’s only a cup of coffee… I get that. But have you ever been in that place, in an area in your life, where you have a need, and it’s just beyond reach? You feel like you’re facing the impossible, a mountain, and all you’re asking for is basic, survival kind of stuff.

You’re not asking God to make Abraham’s turf look small compared to yours, your asking for a simple place to live. You’re not looking to find a get-rich-quick scheme, at the expense of people in your life, you’re asking for a job. Maybe you’re asking Him to help you through a trial, a temptation, a financial struggle. Maybe you or a loved one are in a health crisis. You’re reaching out, your crying out, and nothing is happening. You keep getting a sense that you’re doing something wrong, or God is:
a) not hearing you
-or-
b) all-out, intentionally neglecting you

I promise you that God has not forgotten you. He doesn’t always provide everything we want or need, in our time, and He doesn’t always do it without effort on our part. Sometimes God expects you to act, to do your part. (I had to get creative for my coffee, you have to apply for that job.)

Most importantly God wants you to see Him, not only as the Provider, but as the Provision. Not only as the Healer, but also the Healing. He doesn’t just want to be the hand, but also the gift. He wants to be your all-in-all, everything you need.

Never give up hope, whatever situation you find yourself in. Pursue, through prayer, fasting. Persist in prayer. Stand firm on God’s promises. Do the legwork He is asking you to do. Whatever it takes, whatever it means, do it. But, no matter what, don’t lose sight of what matters.

… it was only a coffee I wanted. A cup of Nabob’s 100% Columbian coffee… but it was worth persisting. How much more important is it, to persist in the things that really matter?

© Trudy Metzger

Return to first post in Sexual Abuse Series

First Post in Spiritual Abuse Series

Spiritual Abuse Part 13: Men of God, Rise Up! Reclaim Spiritual Authority

As fate would have it, my main, not to mention ‘new’, computer crashed. I awakened Saturday morning with no access to my documents and the writing I had started for the next few blog posts. However, I am not willing to lose momentum now, so, to the best of my ability I will keep my commitment to post at least once a day. In the meantime, I wait (patiently…or not so much) and thank God for my IT manager… who also happens to be my husband and best friend. If I miss a post, that explains why.

The topic of spiritual authority is one of the most important topics, not only in Genesis, but, throughout all of Scripture. Yet it is rarely taught in many Christian cultures, particularly those that want control over ‘the flock’. However, since it is God-ordained and God-given, no human has the right to take it away.

Genesis 2: 15-17, 19
15 
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” […] 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.

God gave Adam authority over evil and death, and commanded him to protect the Garden from it. In the next verse it says, ‘…for Adam there was not found a help ‘meet’ (suitable, fitting, compatible) for him”, which means Eve was not yet created.  This was Adam’s primary responsibility, an area he didn’t do so well. And, unfortunately, an area men continue to struggle in, because of the impact of sin, but you can change that, starting today.

Gentlemen, God has called you to protect your ‘Garden’—the place He has given you—from sin and evil, and to be actively involved in war against Spiritual darkness and attack. Control and imposing strict man-made rules are not the answer. The answer is much more personal than that. It is about entering in, hearing, praying, communicating ‘with’, not only talking ‘to’ your family. It is about bringing the power of God to your family, by personifying Jesus Christ, and His serving heart, to your family, through your love and care.

Like Adam, the temptation is to retreat, to let ‘Eve’ take spiritual leadership, or leave her spirit empty and hungry. The cost for apathy is too high, in every way. We’ll talk about that more in a post exploring Adam and the fact that he was designed for relationship, and we’ll look at how this initial authority intertwines with, and impacts relationships.

Religion, as a controlling entity and not functioning as God designed it, has stripped men of this spiritual leadership, in many ways. I cannot tell you the amount of fathers I know, who ran to the church leadership when their sons or daughters strayed from the constitution, or lived in all-out sin, because it was the easy way out and it’s what the church expected them to do. Rather than being there, they let the church deal with it. It became a battle against their children, rather than a fight for their souls. It destroyed family relationship rather than uniting them.

I’m not saying the church should never be involved, there is a time for that, but not before you have loved those children through sacrificial living. Not until you have wrapped your arms around them–or put your hand on their shoulders, if you’re not a ‘hugsy’ family–and prayed with them and for them. Not until you have blessed them and repented for your failures.

Men, your sons and daughters want you to notice them. They want you to fight for them. They want you to get your hands bloody and slay the spiritual dragons in their path. To dress the dragon right, merely gives it power, because it blends in and cannot be seen. While that can give you temporary peace, God forbid that it be given that kind of hidden power. Don’t let the external be the focus, when God has called you to fight for the soul and spirit. Yes, teach the practical ‘living it out’, by being a trustworthy example, but enter into battle with them, close up. Stand between them and the dragon, so that they are not so consumed with fighting the dragon, that they miss connecting with God.

And, finally, allow your children to battle with God. No one gets closer to God, than the one who wrestles with Him. To wrestle, one must touch, and to touch God is to experience life. It is the young man or woman, who has never wrestled with God, who is most at risk of never truly knowing God. And it is much safer for them to wrestle with God, than to wrestle with the enemy or even a religious system. God has their best interest at heart, in the purest sense.

If you have never wrestled with God, if you have been so busy wrestling with religion or fighting with your family that you have neglected to ask God the hard questions, as  King David did, then start there. When you wrestle, you give your wife and children permission to wrestle and you give God permission to be God.

Men of God, will you stand once again in the authority God has given you?

© Trudy Metzger 2012

Go to first post in this series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/