For God’s glory

By Jessica Brodie

Sometimes I believe I’m invincible. My foot started hurting on Saturday just before I headed to Greenville for Annual Conference, but I figured it was nothing. “Mind over matter,” I told myself. My limping got much worse over the next few days, and all the walking exacerbated the problem. It turns out that ignoring it and powering through just made everything worse. It looks like I have a stress fracture, and while I’ll get an X-ray tomorrow to confirm after I go to press, I suspect that stress fracture might well have morphed into a full fracture.

In many ways, I feel like that’s what has been going on in our denomination. We had a problem that grew into a bigger problem, and in some ways it’s because a lot of people just powered on through. Maybe things would just work out if we tried hard enough, we thought, or pushed hard enough, or whatever it was we were trying to do hard enough.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and perhaps if we had tended to the fracture when it was tiny, it wouldn’t have become so massive. Still, even in fractures there are God lessons. Sometimes these fractures bring wisdom and spiritual growth. 

I think back to a lot of the painful circumstances in my own life that turned into major fractures. I learned the most during these seasons. My capacity for love also grew, as did my relationship with God. I see now how God used it for good (Romans 8:28). 

I believe it will be the same in our church. If we continue doing our very best to love God and be God’s people, then God will use what our denomination is going through for good and for God’s glory. 

This year at Annual Conference, we said goodbye to 112 churches that separated from the denomination because they didn’t believe the UMC had upheld its stated doctrine on sexuality and they didn’t believe they could do ministry any longer in the UMC because of this. Last year, we lost 113 churches for the same reason. Altogether, this amounts to about 23.4 percent of the total when we started.

We are one body in Jesus Christ even if we’re not all in the same denomination. But it’s a sad time. It’s a fracture. 

I’ve had a couple of foot injuries recently, and I’ve become aware of what God is trying to tell me: Slow down. Do more self-care. I’m sure there are other things I am meant to learn in this season, and I am open to them even as I commit my life and my work to Jesus Christ and whatever purpose he has for me right now.

Let’s do the same in our denomination. Let’s listen to what God is trying to tell us and be open to this. Let’s learn what we can and commit ourselves to doing his work. 

I’m certain God will use this for good.

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