Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.”
When a person receives the gift of righteousness by faith, God has prepared for them a place of safety and protection, and it is called the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church is the New Testament version of the ark that Noah and his family entered to be saved from the destruction that was in the world. While the flood water engulfed every living creature left on the Earth, those eight souls were preserved.
Just as the ark was the place of blessing for Noah and his family, the church is the place of blessing for the believer.
You can’t tell me that being on the ark was a cruise ship experience! That boat was packed end to end with animals as well as people. Have you ever smelled a pig pen or a stable or an animal enclosure of any kind? It isn’t fragrant! Many times, our experience of church is also far from a bed of roses.
In fact, many Christians opt out of church because of the negative experiences they have had there, but what they fail to grasp is that it is better to be in the ark, even when it stinks than out there where the flood waters are rising.
No one can pretend that churches don’t have their issues, and I challenge you to find a person who has not been hurt in church. I know for myself that if I took notice of the hurt I have been through in church, I would have left long ago. But despite the pains, I know that my place of blessing is INSIDE the ark.
When people decide to step out of church, they have forgotten what life is like outside. They are like Naomi, who left Bethlehem (which means the house of bread) to go to the foreign land of Moab to escape the famine in Israel. She felt that conditions were too bad for her to stay, but when she returned to Bethlehem some years later, having lost her husband and two sons in Moab, her perspective had changed. In Ruth 1:21 she told the people of Bethlehem, “I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty.”
As Hannah found, it was still possible to get a breakthrough even with a Pastor who was not doing his job perfectly, because the Church is the place of God’s power. The destiny of the church of Jesus Christ is that its glory will fill the whole Earth. “The mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest and chief of the mountains; It shall be above the hills, And peoples shall flow [like a river] to it.” Micah 4:1 (AMP)
If you are considering exiting church because it is just too imperfect, think again. Notice I didn’t say that it is wrong to move from one church to another, because sometimes God will have you do that. But if you are thinking of sidestepping church altogether, remember that the stink inside the ark is better than the flood outside. If we believe God and keep working at it, sooner or later God will clean up the messes and take us all to the place of our destiny.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the church of Jesus Christ. I am so blessed to be called to be a member of your church and to be given a place of safety and blessing. Thank you for giving me a local church where I can thrive and grow and outwork the fullness of your plan for my life.
I give to you every negative experience I have ever had in church, and I place my trust in you to take care of it on my behalf. I know that you are more than able to heal and restore and to make all of us what we should be, so I thank you, Lord, for the awesome destiny of the church. Despite the setbacks and challenges, I am so excited to play my part, in Jesus’ name.