They were new in town. In fact, they had not even been there a week when all hell broke loose. What was supposed to be an orientation as one of the pastoral positions, turned into a full-blown open book confession.
The wife whom I’m sure was still unpacking and figuring out where things should be set up in her new home was completely bewildered by the unexpected company: the elders, pastors and her husband.
Before she could even ask, the truth came out. Her husband had a serious problem with serious consequences following. Porn addiction, multiple affairs, and now, a child growing in the womb of a woman who was not his wife.
She was in complete shock. How could this be? She knew her husband was staying late at the office before they moved, but she never imagined it was because he was with other women.
To make things worse, she didn’t know a single person in their new city. They couldn’t afford to have him move out. And the pastors and elders encouraged them to still come to church on Sunday. They wanted to notify the congregation that their new pastor was not going to be their new pastor. She felt trapped.
The wife was petrified to go to church. Her mind wandered… I have to sit next to a man I thought I knew but was deceived by. Now, the entire congregation will judge us. Will they be mad? Throw us out? Her imagination got the best of her.
The day came, and they walked into the sanctuary. They never expected things to be this way. The pastor got up and explained that their new pastor would not be on staff but be mentored by the leaders of the church. He went on to say,
“Most churches beat up the one that’s fallen. But this is NOT what we are going to do. We are going to stand by and cover this couple until we can see God restore them back into ministry. I want you to welcome these new friends.”
Tears filled the wife’s eyes as she again received something she had never imagined… a standing ovation. The congregation wanted this couple to know they were for them and not against them. They would stand in the gap until this couple could be restored.
What a priceless picture of grace. We all fall short and we all face times in our lives where we need people to stand in the gap for us. Like Aaron holding Moses’ hands up; Nathan praying for David until he acknowledged His sin; Jesus extending his hand to the woman caught in adultery instead of stoning her.
People of grace is what we want to be. When we understand where we’ve come from, we can understand where others may be now. To the woman and man in an unplanned pregnancy, we want to be the ones who show grace and stand in the gap for them – to fight for them until they can be restored. This is why we exist. This is why we are here.
“The meaning of life. The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life.
God answers the mess of life with one word = GRACE.” – Max Lucado