Q. During a very difficult time in my life, my pastor failed to show up for a scheduled visit... no one called me or came to see me... I was hurt and angry deep down that when I needed my church family the most none of them were there for me... ZionRose@webtv.net

A. My heart goes out to you. Disappointment from those we expect should care about us hurts deeply. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." (Proverbs 27:6) In other words, it's a definite thing: Friends certainly will fail. Only Jesus *never* fails.

I'm convinced that the *enemy* is behind such shortcomings. (I refer to the pastor who failed to meet your need.) God allows these tests to teach us, to draw us nearer to Him, to depend on Him - not on others. Even more significant than the failures of those who forgot you or forsook you in your time of need, however, is the forgiveness you will have to find in your heart to excuse them. 

         Colossians 3:12-13 (NASB) - "...forgiving each other, whoever has a
         complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you."

         Ephesians 4:32 (NASB) - "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, 
         forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

This might be a challenge, but not impossible. God doesn't require anything of us that he doesn't also give us the grace (ability) to do. 

You raise an important issue that cannot be dismissed. We need to CARE for one another! Paul said "the members should have the same CARE one for another" (1 Corin 12:25). Spiritual leaders *especially* should be an example of CARING for the flock. (2 Corin 7:12; 8:16; 11:28; 1 Tim 3:5) Those who can't be faithful in the "little things," are not responsible enough to bear greater tasks. 

Not to add fuel to the fire here, but we could probably all give examples of how fellow believers failed us. For example, 10 years ago I found myself with no place to live in MINUS-20 DEGREES (that's -20 F degrees, below zero!) weather - with a child, no job, no money, no place to stay. The shelters were full. I did have a car. It was a Sunday night so I went to church. We couldn't just drive around all the time - that uses up gas and costs money. Plus, I figured God had a solution - and where else would I find it, but at church, right? Well, at the end of the service the pastor asked anyone needing prayer to go forward. I was the only one who did. I explained my situation briefly and asked if my son and I could sleep in one of the Sunday School classrooms or something. (I didn't have the guts to ask to stay at someone's house! I figured they might offer that, but I was too proud to ask.) He prayed with me - and instructed me that if I returned in a few days I could get some food from the food pantry. And that was it! I was too shocked to speak up. My son and I got back in our old jalopy, which did start (now, there's a miracle, in -20 F weather!) - and headed for Denny's, where we hung out till the library was open the next morning. (I knew it was too cold to sleep in the car!) I did not go back the next Wed. for food from the pantry; it would have all burst from freezing in the car! And I had no place to cook it!

This whole scenario lasted for months. The devil tried to discourage me, tell me Christianity is a hoax, etc. But remember: he's "a LIAR, and the father of lies"! And he is "the accuser of the brethren"! 

The common complaint of most people suffering from mental illness or suicidal tendencies - including Christians - is that "no one CARES!" The psalmist cried, "No one cares for my life!" Be assured, God cares for you more than you can imagine. He knows even the feelings you cannot put on paper! It says Jesus even CARES for the lilies of the field, and oxen, and the sparrow that falls to the ground - how much more does He care for you? (Luke 12) "...HE CARES for you!" (1 Peter 5:7)

Don't let the devil use this bad experience to separate you from the flock of God, or the CARE of a pastor. We are not ignorant of his devices - one of which is to get a lamb off by himself somewhere so the wolves can eat lunch. 

There are many caring Christians who would have been so happy to visit you in your time of need. Many, including a priest and Levite, passed by the injured stranger on the way to Jericho. But there was a "Good Samaritan," as we call him, who took the guy to an inn and told the keeper to "Take CARE of him..." - at his own expense! (Luke 10) 

My point is: Don't focus on the failures of others, gross as they may be. Consider the many blessings of God in your life and be thankful just that you even *have* life. 

These testings (which God allowed - consider that!) will make you either bitter or better. Bitterness only destroys. Forgiveness builds up and gives hope.

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