Church Disruptions from Disability|
Q. I have a breathing problem and sometimes sound like I'm snoring - but I'm not. Church people tell me to "cut it out," but I can't help it. It bothers me that they become so annoyed. So I quit going to church. I would appreciate your suggestions for my peculiar problem.
Why go to Church?
I'm sorry about your disability and about the insensitivity of some church members. However, we need to remember why we go to church in the first place. We certainly don't go to church to be recognized or liked by others - not ideally anyway.
We attend church to glorify and praise God. God is the focus - not us. We are there to "be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…" (Eph. 5:18-20, ESV).
Not Forsaking our Assembling
Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to forsake our "own assembling together, as is the habit of some…"
All Believers Needed for Functioning Body
Believers need one another for the church body to function as God intended. Romans 12:4-6 says, "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us" (NIV).
If One Hurts we all Hurt
If you suffer and hurt in church, then all of us suffer, too. 2 Corinthians 12:26 tells us…"if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. If one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it" (NASB). But, if you refuse to attend church the body is incomplete. We need you to be in church so that we can function right - as a whole. God will deal with those who hurt us.
God is our Avenger
We are supposed to "accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God" (Romans 15:7). Those who ridicule others are disobeying God - and God will take care of them. Romans 12:19 warns us, "Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,' says the Lord."
Suffering Molds Character
Our suffering ultimately works for our good. The Lord says that "we exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and proven character hope…" (Ro. 5:3-4).
Training for Reigning
Don't forget that "if we endure, we will also reign with Him" (2 Tim. 2:12). We are in training for reigning, folks. Allow God to do His work in you. That is the only way He can shape you into the particular person and job He has for you.
I appreciate how Paul Billheimer says it:
Prayer and suffering is "on-the-job training for the Bride-elect in overcoming the forces hostile to God as a part of her preparation for the throne. Overcoming is a prerequisite to enthronement (Rev. 3:21)."
…"Suffering…shall produce the character and disposition, the compassionate spirit which will be required for rulership in a government where the law of love is supreme…. Because tribulation is necessary for the decentralization of self and the development of deep dimensions of agape love, this love can be developed only in the school of suffering" (Billheimer 1977, 9-10).
Having said all of that, could we suggest that maybe you try sitting apart from the crowd - perhaps toward the back of the church or to the side? You might also make some business-size cards briefly explaining your condition to hand-out when someone complains about what they think is your "snoring." At that point, it is their responsibility to act kindly. If they don't, shame on them!
Benware, Paul. 2002. The believer's payday. Chattanooga, TN: AMG.
Billheimer, Paul. 1977. Don't waste your sorrows. Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications.