When the Saints Go... Marching Out

When the Saints Go... Marching Out

God has a way of turning losses into blessings.

This article appeared in "Jacquie's Jottings," His Partners, July/August 1993, Southern California Conference. Used with permission.

Sometimes it is not easy for us as wives of pastors and it's especially not easy for our hus­bands, when members of our churches become upset, dis­gruntled, disapproving, and unsatisfied and either stop at­tending or leave our church. It also hurts when they begin at­tending another nearby church and possibly rave about it. It's hard for our husbands not to take this personally. Sometimes going through this type of experience tears the scab off a deep wound inside. No, it is not pleasant when the saints go . . . marching out.

One comfort I have found when facing this form of rejec­tion is thinking about Jesus and that He understands how we feel because He has been through similar circumstances. I believe God can turn events such as this into a positive outcome for us and for His kingdom. One verse that I've pondered a great deal and wondered about is, "For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth" (2 Cor. 13:8).

A picture I love which illus­trates this concept is the picture of what happened in the temple after Jesus cleansed it. I'm quot­ing from Desire of Ages:

"Slowly and thoughtfully, but with hate in their hearts, they (priests and rulers) returned to the temple. But what a change had taken place during their ab­sence! When they fled, the poor remained behind; and these were now looking to Jesus, whose countenance expressed His love and sympathy. .

"The people pressed into Christ's presence with urgent, pitiful appeals: Master, bless me. His ear heard every cry. With pity exceeding that of a tender mother He bent over the suffering little ones. All received attention. Ev­eryone was healed of whatever disease he had. The dumb opened their lips in praise; the blind be­ held the face of their Restorer. The hearts of the sufferers were made glad.

"As the priests and temple of­ficials witnessed this great work, what a revelation to them were the sounds that fell on their ears! The people were relating the story of the pain they had suf­fered, of their disappointed hopes, of painful days and sleep­less nights. When the last spark of hope seemed to be dead, Christ had healed them. The burden was so heavy, one said; but I have found a helper.... The voices .. . blended in thanksgiving and praise. . . The were restored soul and body, and they returned home, proclaiming everywhere the matchless love of Jesus."—Desire of Ages, pp. 162, 163, pa­rentheses supplied

It is possible that when those we esteem leave, even though it hurts; perhaps it makes room for ministry to those who previously felt inferior, poor, looked down upon, and more insignificant. Perhaps God can turn our losses into blessings. He has a way of doing that.