The Valley of Achor for a Door of Hope

Monday afternoon, 5 P.M., darkness falls. My time in the wilderness today was typical. A cute manager at one of my accounts routinely flirts with me. I don’t reciprocate but sometimes it causes me to struggle with my thoughts during the rest of the day –even though I love my wife and family, even though I love God and the Church. I am reminded nearly every day that without Him I would never be anything but a liar, an adulterer, a thief, a glutton, a drunk, a murderer, all that’s evil.

The road to Zion goes uphill, and there is a sheer drop to death on either side of the path, and I am always a beggar on God’s doorstep, seeking shelter and a meal. That He could love me in spite of my wayward heart is hard to believe.

Yesterday in church Pastor Bobby mentioned that a couple that has been in the church since our arrival wouldn’t be coming any more. It was a definite bummer and I thought about it all day today. I don’t understand people. I know there are reasons people leave churches, good reasons even. But I don’t understand how they can uproot without explanation or without saying goodbye. They just disappear. People seem hard and unloving, but often they will say they love you right before they disappear. I don’t get it.

I wonder whether anything in the American evangelical church system can even be salvaged. I wonder whether Father will have to circumvent it in the end. Not the Church itself of course, because she is eternal, but the traditions and iniquities present in the churches as organized, business-like systems. I talked with Andre yesterday. He asked whether I’d made any friends since being down here. I told him I had met people I like and care about, but that I didn’t have any friends like he and I are, where we can just talk about everything in life and human experience and not get offended or shocked or judged. He said he hadn’t connected with anyone like that either since me and Sikki left Delaware. But not from lack of trying. He’s tried to connect with men in his church, as I tried with the men of ALC years back. People are just uncomfortable with reality. People are complex but they pretend to be simple; life is a mystery but we think we’ve got it figured out. Nobody wants to admit not having a clue.

I go to church because I want to be obedient to God’s Word to fellowship, pray, and worship with other believers and it’s just a fact that church is where those believers gather. Plus I feel a sense of burden and am seeking opportunity from the Lord to be a part of the solution, if He wills. I have hope that God will one day soon reveal Himself to the Church again.

And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

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Author: Steve Hobbs

I live and write near the beaches of Brunswick County, NC. I entered this fallen reality in 1975. My wife Sikki and I were married in 1997. We have five children. I am a follower of Jesus and a seeker of truth.

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