Many years ago, when we were new Christians, we decided to attend a local church. The minister’s last name was Love. Pastor Love. It was in that church that we were baptized by water and the Holy Spirit. It was there that we first started reading and studying the Bible and it was in that church that we learned a sad truth . . .
One Sunday morning Pastor Love went to the pulpit and started telling us about his night. “A young girl called me about 3:30 this morning . . . woke me out of a sound sleep,” he said.
Having had a troubled childhood myself, I could just picture a sobbing, desperate teenager running her finger down the yellow pages, and believing, when she found a minister with the last name of Love, that it was a sign from God.
“Well,” Pastor Love continued, “this girl poured out her troubles to me, said she was going to kill herself because life wasn’t worth living . . . and after an hour of listening to her cry and trying to get her to give me her name and phone number, she hung up on me.”
I listened with concern as he went on.
“So people, what I want to say is this. . . if you get any big ideas about doing yourself in, please don’t wait until 3:30 in the morning to call me, especially if you’re just going to hang up. I need my sleep.”
I gasped in disbelief.
“Please stand and let us pray,” Pastor Love said.
And when he prayed there was not one word spoken on behalf of that young girl. Not one single word.
As a new Christian, I was dumbfounded. “Wow,” I said to my husband the moment we got in the car. “I can’t believe what we just witnessed.” I prayed for the troubled heart of that young girl and I prayed for the minister. I eventually excused him, putting it off to his youth.
Then the church started a school and as members we were expected to support it by having our own children attend. That was the beginning of the end for us. First our children came home with stories of how Pastor had shamed someone in class, and then one day he came by our house and accused our daughter of being a liar.
“She said she understood the lesson, but then failed the test,” the Pator said, “so clearly, she lied.”
“What?” I cried in disbelief. “Have you not ever thought you understood something and then discovered you didn’t? She’s only 11 years old!”
As if that wasn’t enough, he told us in no uncertain terms that we were sinning against God by allowing our youngest daughter to play baseball with the boy next door. My husband was so furious he asked him to leave.
One thing after another had us gasping “Wow." Finally, issues were too important to ignore and we left that church for the spiritual wellbeing of our children.
I believe that when our heart says, “Wow” with a voice of sadness rather than awe, it is God’s way of telling us it’s time to act . . .
Sometimes, like witnessing the minister’s consistent lack of compassion, a “Wow” is loud and clear. It was also undeniable during the recent devastation of Haiti and Chile; therefore many were moved to action.
But there are quiet whispers of “Wow” all around us every day, and they are often easy to overlook. There are those who are hungry, hurting, sick, or lonely; people who need to be lifted up with encouragement, hope and prayer. I make it a practice to look for ways to be the light of God’s love whenever I witness something that causes my heart to whisper, “Wow.”
A minister with the last name of Love opened my eyes to the sadness of “Wow.”
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