(As you'll be able to see, this post took a different turn towards the end. I didn't expect to say what I was saying, but when the writing begins to flow, I let it. This painted a vivid picture in my mind, but I'm not that good a painter so you might not see the same picture. My only qualification is that, no, I'm not saying I'm sitting on a pew dying. Good luck.)
I can't take it anymore. What does that mean?
It may seem like a dumb question, but it's one I faced.
When you feel like you just can't stand it anymore, what do you do?
You can't stand it.
You can't handle it.
You can't take it.
Just because you can't "stand" it anymore, doesn't change the situation. It doesn't make the situation stop. It doesn't make whatever is bugging you go away. It doesn't change one thing.
Just because you can't 'handle' it anymore, doesn't change the fact that the situation is out of your control to 'handle' anyway.
Just because you can't 'take' it anymore, doesn't change the fact that it's there, giving itself to you whether you can take it or not.
I told God recently, "I can't take much more God." And once again, God turns me with a question, "What will happen when you can't take any more?"
Words seem pretty pointless when you put it like that. My body can't stand the impact of a truck plowing into my car. But that doesn't change the situation if a truck plows into my car. Things break, things hurt, and after a time, my body will begin to be able to 'stand' things again.
But when it comes to spiritual things it's a lot harder to label it. There certainly can be spiritual things that sideswipe me and break my spirit, but it's all invisible. No one sees your spirit in a sling or your peace set into a cast or maybe just the bruises on your happiness. People can't see those things.
It allows people to be crushed, and left broken, wondering how the world can't see that joy died, or that faith has become paralyzed. And we can go through all these transitions while sitting in a pew, teaching a sunday school class, witnessing to neighbors or leading the choir, or for a lot of very congregation weary pastors out there, it can also happen while pastoring a church. And people never see.
It leaves me curious, fearfully curious as to what all is around me. How many Christians have suffered spirit crippling collisions and never tended to their injuries?
Maybe things in this world got worse and worse as we stopped performing first aid on our Christian wounded. The phone calls, the visits, the letters, the friendship and fellowship, the knowing your church families hurts as if they were your own. Tending the wounds of our brothers and sisters, purging out the dirt that seeps into wounds, cleansing and healing each other.
Instead, our Christians sat on pews, while their spirit, joy, hope, and their ability to love others (rather than just hope for survival) dripped down onto the church floor like blood.
We began to die.
And no one really noticed.
And the devil laughed.