If you are a minister who has served in ministry for any length of time, you have faced hurt.
- You were there when the two teenage boys whose father was in a coma from an industrial accident lost their mother in a wreck. You hurt with them and for them. You walked with the entire congregation through this pain.
- You were a young couple trying to start a family, when some of your best friends in the congregation were expecting their first child, and you cried as that baby entered the world with so many health issues that she did not survive the week. You shed tears as you preached that funeral.
- You hurt as you watch a marriage break apart. You listened to the injured spouse or children as they questioned everything. You tried to be encouraging.
- You heard the gun chambering a round as the young man on the phone said life was not worth living. You were by his side in less than 10 minutes trying to help restore his faith in God.
- You stopped to pray as you heard a congregation close to your heart was going through a major struggle.
- You buried another young couple’s baby.
- You studied, encouraged, prayed, shared, invited, asked, and that person still turned his/her back on Christ and His Church.
- You heard from a friend in ministry that he gave in to Satan, his marriage and career are over.
As difficult as those things were and are, they were nothing until it was personal. Until you prayed with your own family as you heard the word cancer pronounced over your younger brother. The hurt became personal. You thought back to all you had ever said to others. You stand numb as others say similar things to you. You the preacher, the minister, the one who is supposed to have answers, has questions and even a few doubts. You know God’s promise that things will work out for good (Rom 8:28). You have told others that that promise does not mean everything is good, but that in time good will come. How can this become good?
You are hurting, but you still have to preach, to console, and encourage others. How? How can you stand in front of all of them and share the Good News, when bad news entered your front door?
First you renew your faith. You recall the words of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) as they faced the fire of Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath. “If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O King, But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Dan 3:17-18).
BUT If NOT!
That is what you remember. God promises to work things for your good, and he will. But it may not be the way you think it should be. So, you place your hope and trust in Him.
Next, you stand before others who are struggling. You speak to those that you speak to every week. You are standing and speaking to some who are losing jobs, looking for jobs, wishing they had a different job (or boss), those who had a fight with their spouse on the way to worship, the children whose home life is not what you think it is, the parents who are afraid they are losing their child to the world, the man whose doctor gave him bad news just this Friday, he is in such shock he has not even told his family. You understand them, you hurt too. They know it, and they appreciate your resolve to stay faithful to God – even when you hurt.
Bonus video and song from Mercy Me.