This post is for, and about, my brothers and sisters in ministry who struggle and/or are struggling. I pray if you are one of those, you will find comfort and encouragement in The Lord this day.
Those called to Christian ministry (Pastor, Missionary, Minister) are usually not well aware they are entering the front line of a war where the enemy takes no prisoners. They are incapable of understanding the degree to which they will come under attack spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes physically. They weret warned by their best friend, they just couldn’t understand what they hadn’t experienced. As Jesus said…
“In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer… I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33).
“I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (Jn 15:19-20)
Their heart breaks because many times those they love (Church members, fellow ministers, friends) are the source of their heartbreak. They struggle because they try the best they know how to do what is right as led by God but they are opposed, and sometimes attacked, for doing those very things.
I wish I had a pill I could give them… wave a magic wand to make everything right… but I don’t. However, I do have something better. I just reaffirm what they probably already know. I would ask them to meditate long and hard on at least these passages…
Mt 11:28 (Jesus says) Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
1 Pet 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Mt 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
2 Cor 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
Then I’d ask them to remember three things about their situation:
1. God is using them to glorify His name,
2. God is in the process of conforming them to the image of Christ,
3. God is laying up treasures for them in heaven they will enjoy forever.