Today I have come to a greater understanding of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 11:28-29.Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
Over the past two weeks, I have been put in the position to carry other people’s burdens, and the weight is getting very heavy. Last week, I meet with a couple struggling with their relationship. I also met with a family who were facing the death of their loved one. On Tuesday, I led the family through the process of formally saying goodbye. Yesterday, I sat with a couple who are heart-broken over a rebellious child. This morning, just after I arrived at my office, I encountered a young man who is battling cancer. He had tests done yesterday, and the news was not good. I am trying to help a family that is struggling with a child who is significantly questioning his faith. This morning, I heard about a family that may be leaving our church. My heart echoes Paul’s words. I face daily the pressure of my concern for the church. I feel so weak and inadequate to meet the needs presented to me.
I have begun a preaching series on getting to know Jesus. I began the series with the story of Moses meeting God at the burning bush. In that encounter, God reveals Himself as the “I AM”, the God is always present. That truth, although not new to me, has grabbed my heart. I am seeking to live daily in the reality and the presence of the God who is. I am discovering that Satan doesn’t like it when we get in tune with Christ. So he starts throwing those flaming arrows at us that he is so famous for. I am feeling their impact.
A men’s group that I lead is going through the video series “Wild at Heart.” One of the underlying messages of that study is that every man struggles with the question, Do I have what it takes? Right now Satan is throwing that question at me. The answer that he is whispering in my ear is, no you don’t. It is a lie, but a powerful lie.
I confess that I am feeling weak right now, very weak. But I also know that Christ works through my weakness. I am holding onto the promise that God gave to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, 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.
In Ephesians 6, Paul makes it clear that we are in a spiritual battle. In order to meet the challenge we need spiritual weapons.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:10-18
I am doing my best to equip myself with God’s armor. But right now, I feel like the best I can do is just stand. The weight of ministry is great, but the strength of Christ is greater. So I will continue to seek him to get me through.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."