In early 1994, I drove back to Illinois to attend a high school friend’s funeral. It was held in a small church and I sat with my parents in a middle row of the sanctuary.
As I sat there on the wooden pew, listening to the pastor, the Holy Spirit interrupted my thoughts and blanked out all noise from the service and the people around me. I was there, but I wasn’t. Then, He spoke to me:
“My Church consists mainly of a bunch of nice losers,” He said. “They pray for the sick, and if the person dies, they aren’t angry and don’t really feel that bad about it. After all, they did their religious duty.
“Now, in Major League Baseball, both the winning teams and losing teams want to win; it’s a part of each player’s make-up. But after a while, the losing teams’ players don’t really mind losing anymore. They still receive large paychecks and enjoy all the fantastic benefits of just being a Major League player. So, losing is not such a big deal to them.
“But this is not true for the winning teams’ players. Each of these players hates to lose and will do anything and make whatever sacrifice is needed to win games. They absolutely hate losing!
“I want My Church to hate losing!”
The conversation ended and I began weeping so hard I thought I was going to vomit. My sister leaned over. “Don’t you think that you should get a hold of yourself? You’re making a scene,” she whispered.
I shrugged my shoulders. There was nothing I could do, nor did I care what others thought of me at that moment. I was devastated by the Holy Spirit’s description of the Church: “a bunch of nice losers.“
Now, what’s funny is that I was upset with God for allowing my friend to die. I had witnessed to my friend over the years. Prayed for him. Fasted for him. Invested time in his healing. But still, he died and I was mad at God as I sat there in the pew!
So, wouldn’t you think that God would have corrected me about my anger at Him? And yet, He didn’t. Instead, He redirected my anger toward the Church’s losing attitudes.
From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:16)
(Continued in Part 13.)