For years my husband and I would go over the many and varied coincidences that happened.

One blatant example is that I would send an email to the pastor asking for help or for an explanation of why I was being ostracized and I would immediately get an email from a woman in leadership asking to have coffee. In fact, it almost became a joke around our house.  My husband and I would compose an email together and then count the hours/days until the expected coffee date request would come.

Recently, the church announced the candidates for elder and deacon positions in the upcoming election later this month.  Interestingly enough, several of those in the running are people with whom my husband and/or I have had warm friendships. They are also people whom we thought just might reach out to us.  Some have been guests in our home and have gone to dinner with us several times.  Some have been in classes with us – as teachers, as classmates, as students.  Some have had us as guests in their home.  One once said that due to age, she would never serve as an elder again. She also once told me that if she had known about my initial ostracism, she would have gone to the senior pastor and demanded answers.  But, by the time she found out about it, her son was on the staff and so she wasn’t going to say anything that would jeopardize his position.  She is the same person who emailed me right after we were tossed aside and asked what had happened.  Though I replied asking her to call me, I never heard from her again, despite a follow-up attempt to communicate with her.

As I think about the one who had lunch with me only days after we were told to never return, and how she worried that she might be in serious trouble if the associate pastor’s daughter, who was sitting only feet away from us, might report on her, I cannot help but think that this is all much more than a coincidence.

Here are people whom we counted as friends, yet they have not made any attempt to communicate with us.  Here is at least one person who was afraid that contact with me would bring wrath from the associate pastor.  Here is at least one person who would not speak up for fear that her son’s employment in the church would be jeopardized.  Here is at least one person who was expecting my husband to continue to be involved in his small group.  Yet not one has communicated with us and every one is now on the ballot for elder leadership.

My husband and I are convinced that there is more going on here than coincidence.

In a church where it was made crystal clear that there is reward for “good behavior,” I can’t help but believe that people are being rewarded.

And as I write this and glance up at the picture of Jesus that sits above my desk, I hear “Ellen, this is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”  And I am reminded that there are kings with kingdoms and there is a King with a Kingdom.  One will never leave me or forsake me.  He is not like them. And they are not like Him.

 

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