Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:1-4 (NIV)
I mentioned in my last post that last week held some disappointments. In the great scheme of life, with people out of work or suffering from diseases, it is really not that big of an issue. However, to me, a person who has dedicated her life to preserving our community’s past and its heritage, it was a low blow. I have written before about the Revival Temple, and my hopes that this 1933 historic church building made of native stone could be saved. After a two year battle with the property owner, several weeks ago, the City Council voted in favor of issuing a demolition permit. On Friday afternoon, the building was razed. I hoped up until the last moment that someone would step forward to save the building. I think now that even if someone had waved a million dollar check in front of the property owner’s face, he would have torn the building down just to even the score. You see, the fight to tear the building down had become personal to him and to his partner. So personal that I suffered from attacks both in person and by mail. Attacks that accused me of lying and questioned my character in letters to the newspapers and government officials. After one meeting, the property owner even cursed at me in front of a television reporter. I was sent a “cease and desist” letter as he attempted to curtail my freedom of speech. In all my years of experience, I have never felt as threatened and even at some points, afraid. Last week, the property owner’s assistant called me and insisted that I attend a “press conference” at the site on Friday. She was surprised when I refused. Though I did not know demolition was scheduled for that day, I did not feel comfortable attending after supporting historic preservation for so long. When I drove past and saw that the building was being razed at the exact moment she demanded my prescence, I was glad I didn’t have to watch while the media stood by. How can someone be so mean and unfeeling? I know that there are horrid people in this world, but I can’t understand why someone could not just take their demolition permit and be happy about it instead of trying to rub my face in it. He had to know how passionate I was about saving that building and how utterly disappointed I was that it would be demolished. I have even questioned my effectiveness of my work. It made me think about Christians throughout time and even around our world today who are so passionate about sharing the message of the Good News of Christ yet face ruthless, evil people on a daily basis. Despite hardships, they continue to do be obedient to God’s call. I can only imagine a portion of their suffering. I admire them greatly and want to be more like them both in my career and in my Christian walk. I will remember this: Hope in God does not disappoint.