We’ve all had our share of conflict: in traffic; at work; at home. There’s a dirty little secret that we don’t talk about in polite company: there’s conflict at church. It divides, distracts, debilitates, and destroys.
My first big Christian conflict happened in a gospel quartet. God was moving; pastoral families were encouraged; people were coming to the Lord; prayers were being answered; some folks were even getting healed. In some circles, that might be called revival, and it was happening! We scraped together some cash, went into a recording studio, and recorded an album. Yes, on vinyl records and cassette tapes. Then without warning, our female pianist ran off with the sound engineer. I was devastated; for a long time…
One of my mentors offered these sage words: “Those things happen; bands and quartets form an break up all the time.” One friend mockingly quoted Romans 8:28 – “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord.” I loved the Lord; why did this happen?
Since my advisors were less than helpful, I sought solace in my favorite Bible book. “Brother Ken, would that be the book of Psalms?” Why, no, friend, that would be the book of Revelations. “Whaaat???!!” Revelations is my go-to-book when I hurt because, no matter what happens to me, at the end of that book, Jesus wins, and that’s a great comfort.
Unfortunately, Revelations didn’t answer my brokenness, so I turned to the gospel stories in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I needed a Word from the Lord, a heart-miracle. And there it was, waiting, in Matthew 12, sandwiched between two familiar miracles. In one story, Jesus healed a man with a withered hand. In the next story, Jesus delivered a young man from a demon that caused the boy to fall into seizures, writhing upon the ground, even burning himself in open fires. Between the two stories, Matthew 12:20 (NIV) inserted a quote from the book of Isaiah to describe Jesus’ heart of compassion, kindness, hope, and restoration for these two men. “A bent reed He will not snap off, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out until He leads justice to victory.” These Words ministered to me. I sat down, shed some tears, picked up my guitar and wrote “Fan the Fire,” in just a few minutes.
As you are reading this, maybe a church conflict has paralyzed you. Maybe you’re bent 90 degrees at the waist from the burdens you carry? Maybe your faith feels like a smoldering candle, freshly blown out on top of a birthday cake? Friend, Matthew tells us that Jesus will not allow the load we carry to snap us off. Jesus will not allow our candle of faith to be snuffed out. He will lead justice to victory! I hope “Fan the Fire” helps you heal from church conflict and restores your faith in the faithful One, the compassionate One Who will lead justice to victory.
Thanks for listening! “Fan the Fire” is available at most popular digital download sites, such as Distrokid, Amazon.com, iTunes, and others. Search Fan the Fire Kenneth Robertson.
For additional information, or to invite Ken to play at an upcoming gathering, please see the website, acousticsincerity.com