When I answered the phone, the voice on the other end said, “Marty, you didn’t tell me that it was going to be so hard.” I cringed when I heard those words because they came from a young pastor who had only been at his new assignment for six weeks. He should have been enjoying the honeymoon phase of pastoring, but instead, it seemed as if he was being baptized in the fire.
Church work is hard.
Yes, leading and growing a healthy church is one of the most challenging endeavors that you can ever do. You have a God-given mission to communicate a message of hope to your community. People need the Lord. The world would be a better place if we embraced the words of Jesus and lived out his principles. Yes, it would be a better place, but most people do not realize this. So, as ministers, we have to compel people. We have to convince them that God has a plan for their lives. This sounds easy, but it’s not.
Church work is hard.
Leading and growing a healthy church begins with you and me. We need to be healthy. We need to be balanced. We need to be at peace with God and ourselves. That sounds simple, but again, it’s not. We live in a world that is always clamoring for our attention. Practically speaking, think about how many accounts you are trying to manage. It gets confusing. You have this public persona and then there is the real you. Throughout your day, you have to decide which one is going to get your attention. This can be a struggle.
Life is hard.
I am sure that many of you are like me in the fact that you thought that life would be easier at this stage, but it’s not. There was a day when I thought that life would be so much easier after I finished my classes and received my degree, but it wasn’t. Then, I thought that marriage would make my life easier. Then, I thought that being the leader instead of an assistant leader would make my life easier. The list goes on and on. In every phase, there is temptation to look at the next season and say, “That’s when life will be easier.” But again, we realize that life is hard.
Life is hard when the little issues become big issues. So many times it’s not the big problems that are the real problems. It’s the little ones. Problems typically increase with intensity when I push God aside and say to him, “I can handle it on my own.” This normally happens when my ego rises up. Ego can be defined when you “Edge God Out.” Life is hard when you edge God out.
So, does life ever get any easier? Life gets easier when we understand this fact:
Life is hard, but God is good.
Jesus said it this way in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In this world, you will have trouble, but God is with you. You are not alone. You can get through this season. God is growing you into the person that He wants you to be. Don’t fight against this process, but surrender to the Lord and allow him to complete what He has started. Remember that God is good.
What can you do to get through this season? Put your trust in the Lord and let Him have His way. God did not bring you to this point to see you go under.
Here are four things that we can do in times of difficulty.
- “We can pray”
Prayer unlocks the power of the Lord in your life. We need a power that is greater than ourselves. Call on the Lord. Ask him for help. Ask God to open the door that you are to walk through and close the doors that you should not go through.
- “We can think”
God has given us the ability to reason. Use your common sense in this season of your life. Everything is not mystical. In fact, most things are very practical. Stop trying to make the simple things hard.
- “We can wait”
We need to think long-term. Instead of trying to get through this year, consider what kind of life and ministry that you want in three years or five years. There are very few over-night successes and more than likely you are one of them. Be patient and learn to rest in the Lord.
- “We can endure”
We need to develop a high pain tolerance and train ourselves to be resilient. When you are knocked down, get back up. That’s right…get back up. Stop wallowing in self-pity. Get back up and be the person God has created you to be. You can get through what you are going through.