Several years ago, there was a pastor who was having difficulties in his ministry—so much so, that he was moving to another ministry. At that particular time, we were at a highpoint in our ministry. I remember one of our children saying, “How can they be so excited about leaving? I’d die if we had to leave our ministry.” About three years later, we found ourselves in a similar situation, and that child’s words came back to me.
At the time of the opening scenario, we were fulfilled, prospering, moving forward. Yes, there were difficulties—there are always difficult moments in any occupation. (My personal opinion is that they are multiplied in any ministry situation because our enemy more aggressively attacks any progress for our Lord.) But we knew that we were right in the center of God’s will, and we were content to be there.
Three years later, God allowed circumstances which made it nearly impossible for us to stay. There are several lessons to be learned:
- Could I understand the feelings of the other pastor and his family before going through the same circumstance? No, I could sympathize with them, but until I went through that struggle, I didn’t fully understand it. Now, for any of you who are ministry people: Do know that, Lord willing, you will never go through every trial which your people have to face. That doesn’t mean that you can’t minister. We are only the messengers for the Great Comforter! He has the answers! Praise the Lord. But it is true that we can empathize better having gone through trials ourselves.
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 2 Corinthians 1:4
TRIALS STRENGTHEN US AND MAKE US BETTER MESSENGERS FOR JESUS CHRIST.
- When the trial comes, God WILL give you the grace to go through it. Before we went through the trial, we couldn’t really understand God’s grace upon that pastor and his family, but their testimony prepared us for “our turn!”
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
IT’S GOD! IT’S GOD! IT’S GOD!
If you think you can do it apart from the grace of God… well, all I can say is, “Wow!”
- Are you ready to die? This is not a salvation post, but as two different suffering women have been recently placed on our prayer list: a pastor’s wife and a missionary’s wife—BOTH AROUND MY AGE—I was very rebuked for thinking that I was ready to die. I often told the Lord that I was ready for the battles to be over. I would glibly say, “Yep! I’m ready to go!” Yes, I love my husband, and children, and grandchildren, and mom, and all our family and friends, but I truly felt that if the Lord wanted to take me, I was ready. But as I’ve prayed for these women and their families, and it has become intercessory prayer—putting myself into their place—I’ve realized that I don’t know what I’m talking about!!!
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge,shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8
EVEN SO, COME LORD JESUS!
THAT is what I’m ready for—I want Him to return. I want the battles to be over. I want all my loved ones to enjoy heaven and the millennium together. I’m NOT ready to go it alone, BUT if I listen to my own words, I can rest in the fact that if that is His will for my life: that I meet Him in 2016—He will give me the grace to bear it!
I hope that is half the encouragement to you that it had been for me! Life—it’s worth the living! Live it for Jesus!