How DO you put up with us?
“Come back, we beg you, O God of Heaven’s Armies. Look down from heaven and see our plight. Take care of this grapevine that you yourself have planted…
What was true then is true now: we long for God’s presence again. Why? One reason is churches are families, and all families—to put it bluntly—screw up sometimes. We say really stupid things. We do really stupid things. We have been in great pain and sometimes intentionally (ouch!), we cause great pain.
But in the stillness after all the pieces have been somewhat reassembled and functionality returns, when the ‘grapevine’ of the day has been mended, there is a comment pastors often hear: “How do you put up with us?”
“God can certainly hear, see, and take it all,” you think. “After all, He is GOD. But a pastor? Seeing and hearing ALL my mess? AND he or she is still talking to me…after all of THAT?”
When you ask a pastor, “How do you put up with us?” you see the value in the referee, the one who hangs in there with you through the hardest blows, the toughest circumstances.
Yes, some relationships need to dissolve, but overall, you do what pastors have done: you, too, hang in there. After tough words, ugly actions, and the mean and the nasty stuff has been flung around, you, like God, don’t abandon ship. Sure, “hanging in there” can be tough—it can be oh so tremendously tough—but you do it.
The psalmist is wrong in thinking God has abandoned the people. God never leaves us. God never checks out, or turns a shoulder to us. God is where God is, and that’s everywhere. Immovable. Constant. Continual.
God’s immovable, constant, and continual love enables you to put up with a great deal, each day, every day. It’s your choice, but I encourage you to let that love happen.
In other words, be like God. Stay put.
Don’t move from love.