One of the greatest and constant needs of the church since its birth at Pentecost is God-called, Spirit-filled, well-equipped leaders. Are you like me, some days just wondering: How much more can we stand?
Some days it seems our entire culture is wondering the same. How much more can we collectively stand?
Even a half-hearted glance at the news is overwhelming. Culture wars and racial conflict like we’ve not seen in 50 years; political upheaval; riots, lawlessness and constant protests paralyzing many of our nation’s cities; and a lack of social decorum and mutual respect in society but especially within our government.
President Trump and Senator Biden are practically brawling in presidential debates and political anger abounds. Then there are the professional athletes and sport leagues that have become billboards for personal and corporate protests. Of course, there’s also social media, which is often a cesspool of unmitigated vitriol spewed with no accountability.
And, we’re unfortunately seeing more and more division within churches.
We have a global pandemic that’s claimed more than 200,000 American lives and counting. It’s disrupting everything from our children’s education to our nation’s economy. And like the sales pitch in the commercials used to say, “But wait, there’s more.” We’ve had waves of hurricanes crashing against our shores and it seems as if the entire country west of the Rockies is on fire. All of it has caused billions of dollars of destruction.
Wow, just thinking through and compiling that list is a mental, emotional, physical and spiritual burden. Like me, you may relate to the Apostle Paul when he writes in II Corinthians 1:8-9 that he was, “completely overwhelmed — beyond our strength — so that we even despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.”
But this is where I am thankful that our gracious Heavenly Father sent great saints before us to endure life’s storms and record for us in Scripture the hope found in Christ. Paul has been where we are and he relates to our struggle. He doesn’t leave us floundering in the “despair of life,” but goes on to conclude in verse 9 that we should “not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.”
Wow! That’s powerful. Do you feel like you’re carrying the burden of a death sentence? Turn to the one who specializes in raising the dead. Remember the God of the universe. And with unshakable certainty, Paul triumphantly follows his statement in verse 9 and proclaims in verse 10 that, “(God) will deliver us!” What an incredibly happy note of courageous hope.
Listen, we may not ever get back to “normal,” and that may be by God’s design. As He communicates through the prophet Isaiah, “… Pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new” (43:18-19). God may be challenging you, me — us — to do a new thing for His glory and our good. What I know for certain is that as we rebuild our lives, our families, our churches and recover a Great Commission zeal to win the world for Jesus Christ, it is God Himself who will deliver us.
Whatever you are facing, rest assured that He’s got you and He’s got this. Again, look to Scripture: “Cast all your cares upon the Lord because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
The question really is not how much more can you stand, but how much more will you allow the Father to carry? Will you trust Him? Will the faith you’ve professed in Christ be active and dynamic? If you’ve trusted Him with your soul, rest assured you can trust Him with everything else. May the joy of the Lord be your strength.
It is a joy to be with you on this journey!
P.S. October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Your good pastor has carried an enormous shepherding load through this pandemic over the last six months. Like never before, make sure you let your pastor and his family know how much you love and appreciate them.