A Fairy Tale EndingAugust 2009
The Diaconate works to bring the healing power of God’s mercy and grace to the congregation. This story of hope demonstrates how God continues to bring about his peace through those serving in our midst.
Several years ago a husband and wife who are Redeemer members came to the Diaconate with a financial emergency. They came to us because their combined incomes were not covering their living expenses.
A deacon and deaconess signed on to work with them and they assessed the situation with the couple to see what help was best. The Diaconate was able to offer some temporary help to them for basic living needs such as utilities, car repairs, partial rent, and other items. At first the problem seemed entirely financial but in the process of going over their spending patterns some deep marital discord came to light about who and how the finances would be handled.
Because of the complexity of their situation additional support such as financial counseling sessions and Biblical counseling through our Counseling Center were given to help get at underlying issues. For many months the counselor met with this couple. Frequent meetings or phone calls also continued with the Deacon/Deaconess over time, involving much venting and accusation. The Deacons continued to encourage, pray and listen. However progress was slow and the underlying patterns had not changed much. They became one of my Diaconate clients about a year ago and I found myself enmeshed in a story I hoped would come to a fairy-tale ending of a “happily-ever-after” joyful marriage, but my cynical side dampened my hopes.
What had begun as a matter of financial rescue led to uncovering an underlying and continuing tangle of sin patterns and it was vital to bring to light the commitments made by Christians to our church in contrast to what surfaced through our talks with them. Eventually two elders and the couple’s counselor were called in to join the care team to advance the process of restoration.
The meeting with them was moving and quietly gracious. There was no coldness or severity of judgment but rather an atmosphere of careful listening and identification with them. Here was one set of sinners saved by grace (The Pastoral Care Team) serving other sinners also in need of grace. We invited them to see that they are precious in the sight of the Lord, yet seeking to bring out into the open the unvarnished truth of their harmful actions against each other and the Lord.
I find myself wanting to see them conquer their life-long patterns, which had never been fully addressed, to know the true rescue of Jesus. I want them to feel His welcome and pardoning love for them. I pray that this couple realizes how much they are needed by us all, and how their healing matters to our community. I am praying for their conviction, renewal and freedom from these hellish patterns. I am counting on Christ to reconcile their relationship. Their reunion would be a victory for our whole community.
Please join me in praying for a fairy-tale ending.
The Diaconate is a Mercy Ministry addressing the needs of those in our church family experiencing hardship. The Diaconate is our response to God’s calling to be merciful, to love and care for one another in practical ways. If you need assistance, call the Diaconate Helpline, (212) 726-1334.
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