Sunday, April 8, 2012
It Happened On Easter
Having never missed an Easter Sunday service, the thought of not going was unacceptable. Yet, how was I going to overcome the issue with the allergy?
A good friend, and fellow florist, mentioned her church used silk lilies in deference to her. She sang in the praise team and was highly allergic to the beautiful flowers as well, and invited me to attend services with her and her family. Simple solution? Not really.
My church frowned on attending other services and I had never been to another church except for a wedding. Yet, I was already in turmoil with my church. My new husband was not a member of the church, nor wished to be. When I approached the church to have our civil vows, said in front of an African magistrate, repeated before a minister, my husband and I were the recipients of an inquisition. By the time we left the church I was in tears and my husband was further alienated from the faith. I continued attending services, alone, but felt isolated and unaccepted. Then came Easter Sunday.
After a night of agonizing, I accepted my friend's offer. I sat with her and her family, and should have been delighted to be with someone, and not alone as I would have been at my own church, but I wasn't. Looking around at all the families celebrating and worshiping together, broke my heart. Why had my life turned out this way? How did I end up in this mess? Because I chose to marry someone who did not share my faith. Certainly the marriage was perfect in every other aspect, and all the miracles surrounding it were undeniable, at that moment I felt Africa was my downfall.
The pastor started his sermon with a story. And old man and a young man were discussing faith.
The old man asked the younger one, "Would you follow God anywhere?"
"Yes," the young man replied.
"Would you follow Him into the deep south?"
"Would you follow Him to Albania?"
"Would you even follow Him to Africa?"
My heart stopped. To Africa? Yes. I would follow Him even to Africa.
The following day 1 Peter 3: 1 was in my devotions: In like manner let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives.
I still don't pretend to fully understand this verse, or the reason for my life's path. All I can do is trust Him even though I am still attending Easter Services alone. Yet, there has been a slight change. My husband asks every Sunday if I am attending services. He asks afterward about the service, the music, and the sermon. I answer his questions, careful not to preach or push.
Easter Sunday is a day of hope, of belief in the impossible, and realization that we belong to a Father who loves us more deeply than we can love Him back. Can I not trust such a love and follow Him wherever he asks, even to Africa?