“For Christ’s sake I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~2 Corinthians 12:10
Terry Rush is good. Man, he’s good. Four out of five of his daily posts on his blog The Morning Rush are written to encourage preachers. They always encourage me. Always. And they always seem to be written especially for me at exactly the time I need it the most. Yesterday’s post by Terry, “A Tough Lesson To Learn,” couldn’t have been timed any better.
I’m beginning to understand that most, if not all, the things that hinder me or slow me down or rattle me or depress me or derail me or anger me or otherwise get in my way of serving our God and preaching his Word and ministering to his people are from Satan. He doesn’t want me to preach. He definitely wants me to get upset and cynical and angry and depressed. He wants me to feel ineffective. The devil wants me to be defensive and suspicious. He would much rather me withdraw than reach out.
So I’m trying to see all these things as positive signs that God’s Holy Spirit is empowering me and Christ Jesus is ruling me and the Father is loving me and Satan can’t stand it. I’m trying to, like Paul, delight in these things. Because God through my crucified and resurrected Lord gives me strength.
Here’s Terry’s post from yesterday:
Years ago Memorial was going through some tough stuff. Conflict was in the air. I watched as one of the families passed letters out to a few on a Wednesday night. They handed one to me. I didn’t need to read it. This family and a few of their friends had been on the elders’ case for quite some time. I didn’t open the letter. In disgust I tossed it on my desk and went home. I did go home and call a couple of friends of the elders asking them to give them a call as I knew letters were being handed out against them. I knew they must be hurting. I felt sorry and defensive for my men.
Well, I went into the office the next morning and there was that danged letter. So I opened it to see what they had to say this time about our guys. Oh, boy! It was about me! They handed out a letter voicing there dissatisfaction with me! While things like that hurt, I just had to laugh because I was so worried about the elders….and they had gotten the letter and were worried about me.
Some of you get that treatment. I don’t anymore from within the congregation. For those who are treated this way, I encourage you that everything will be all right. Don’t fight this kind of person. And, don’t fold up believing you are notoriously no good. Leave it up to God. He will take care of these matters. He will.
Insults aren’t easy for sensitive leaders like us. Yet, God says to be thankful for them; to brag about them (II Cor. 12:10). He is telling us the truth. Yes, they really hurt. And yes, we have it coming because we are walking in Jesus’ footsteps. The cross is not convenient and some will try to kill us….and we have it coming. If the church has real authentic hope, one of the reasons will be when the leaders refuse to retreat when injured. We often play the game hurt.
And while we do, God works! It is a tough lesson to learn; but surely worth applying each day. Keep your spirit smiling….even in the midst of pain. I feel sure somebody needed this right now.
John Danks! Wow! Eight shutout innings in a critical do-or-die game for the White Sox! He dominated! Wow! Wouldn’t it be great if the Rangers could ever—I mean ever!!!— come across a kid like this? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Rangers could ever find a pitcher like this? What could happen if the Rangers could ever be so fortunate as to sign a guy like John Danks?