I apologize for the prolonged absence on the blog. We have been moving to a new house, and at the very same time, my computer decided to blow its logic board. I’m still awaiting its return, but was able to post from the iPad today.
A few weeks ago as I was preaching, I noticed someone stick their head just inside the false wall of the partition separating the entrance of the church and the sanctuary.
I brushed it off to someone passing by outside and hearing the strange intonation and rhythm of my preaching who decided to see exactly what was going on. After service I asked my wife, who was seated at the back of the church if she noticed anyone. She said no, and I put it in the back of my mind.
Yesterday before service began, Nina was cleaning the sidewalk at the front of the building when a woman walked up and began staring at the posters and information that we have posted on the front door of the church.
Nina spoke to her. “Good morning.” No reply.
The good pastor’s wife spoke again, asking if she could help the inquisitive and apparent mute. First, there came the stare, then after a terribly rude pause came a terse response. “I’m just looking.”
At some point during the “looking” my oldest daughter spoke only to remain just as ignored as Nina.
What happened in the next five minutes made me laugh with joy and thank God for His powerful hand in the lives of His children. What happened was that Mrs. I’m-just-looking’s sister-in-law, we’ll call her Lucy, arrived at church, like she does almost every time we have service.
Lucy spoke to her and asked how everything was going, obviously surprised to see her any where near our church.
“Terrible. Just terrible. Everything is bad. I’ve already been to the hospital today. Nothing is going right.” Then, she was off.
Lucy came inside the church where I was oblivious to everything going on outside and related to me the whole story. Sister-in-law was the mysterious woman who stuck her head in the back door a few weeks ago. She’s also been complaining to Lucy’s husband her, her brother that his wife has been going to the “Devil’ s house.”
Yep. The house of the devil. Where she got that term, I have no idea. From somebody else? From the priest? Who knows.
But, it got worse.
“I can’t believe you let your wife go to the house of the devil! Don’t you know that everything bad that has been happening to our family is because she’s been going to the devil’s house? Don’t you know that Lucy’s mom has cancer now because they go to the devil’s house?”
On and on and on. She actually said that someone contracted cancer because she and her daughter are attending our church. Horrible things spoken out of blindness and ignorance.
Sister-in-law is miserable. Lucy isn’t. Both have problems but only one has peace.
The natural reaction is to lash out against that which we don’t understand.
However, the best part about the conversation…the best part about the entire encounter, that made me literally laugh out loud and thank God for his transforming grace was the response that Lucy’s husband gave to his sister following her devil’s house diatribe.
It was simple, but it was also telling.
“That’s ok. Let her keep going to the house of the devil. Ever since she started going there she’s been much calmer at home.”
Perfect. Let me give you a few things to ponder about that statement.
- It made Sister-in-law think. She knew Lucy before and she knows that her brother is right. She’s seen a difference in Lucy too.
- Lucy’s husband has noticed a difference in her behavior, and not just in her vocabulary. She’s changed so much that he doesn’t even complain when she goes to church anymore.
- It shows that God is working in different people’s lives at the same time, using the same person as a witness of His marvelous grace.