Having preached often about how following Jesus is painful, I guess I have no cause to complain about my present situation. Basic confidentiality prevents me saying too much here, but if these confessions are to stay honest, I need to record something of this.
I am involved in a conflict situation between Christians. I have to make decisions and take action to prevent the misdeeds of a few having consequenses out of all proportion. I have to do this with one eye on secular law and the other on basic human psychology, and all the time I need to stay open to the law of love that Christ calls us to live out. I find I can’t do this without pain. Some of it’s mine, much of it is in others. I can’t say how much of it is ‘deserved’. It just is. Integrity and the demands of the situation require me to continue acting in the situation, even though it is painful, even though I am probably making mistakes along the way. This just happens to be the path I am called to walk right now.
Yesterday, as one more act in the drama was being played out in my office I wanted to curl up in my chair and cry out. Why must we hurt each other in these ways? Why is this pain necessary?
Nevertheless I am grateful for the support of good friends. I am grateful for the basic disciplines of prayer and bible-reading that keep me grounded. I am grateful for the availability of a great deal of good advice. I’m grateful for what I’ve learned from past experience and training; this could all be so much worse.
I can’t say that I’m finding a lot of ‘God’ in this. This is what faith means – that I have to continue to walk this road even when it seems deserted. And right now it’s not – I have a lot of very good company. But I do know that in some future time I will look back and see the clear evidence of God’s presense in this. Even in this pain.