Sometimes, pastoral ministry flows along at a comfortable pace. Sometimes, I get in good reading and study rhythms, healthy prayer rhythms, and regular leadership and ministry rhythms. But at other times, the needs and concerns in our church family can be many.
In the last couple of weeks at our church, we’ve had several deaths, a stroke, family and friends with severe covid cases, emergency surgeries, scheduled surgeries, family members moved to hospice care, both unexpected and expected hospital stays, individuals with multiple surgeries, and numerous other burdens too sensitive to mention.
Just this morning, I messaged more than 10 people in our congregation who are going through specific, ongoing challenges in their lives or the lives of family members.
Just this morning, as I was writing this post, a fellow pastor called. He and his church are dealing with a Covid-19 outbreak at his church. We talked through the challenges this situation provides.
Sometimes, the weight of what we are dealing with and the burdens of others can be overwhelming. We need help.
The good thing is that when we need help, God is ever-present to provide.
In my quiet time this week, I read Psalm 9. It is a chapter referencing God’s deeds, his deeds of wonder and of judgment. Two verses struck me powerfully.
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,Psalm 9:9-10
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Somebody reading this needs to remember that the Lord is with you in times of trouble. A stronghold is a place of protection and defense. It is armed and defended not by human armies or powers, but by the Lord himself. Go to the Lord.
Somebody reading this needs to put their trust in the Lord. Certainly, if you are not yet a follower of Jesus, I would commend you to saving faith. Trust in the Lord Jesus alone and you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). But saving faith is the foundation for living faith. Follower of Jesus, continue to trust in the Lord. If you know him by name, count on him. Take your burdens to him. Pray to him.
Somebody reading this needs to know that you are not forsaken. At times, our situations and burdens make us feel helpless. They are overwhelming, discouraging, and disconcerting. If we look too long at our difficulties, we will despair. But God has not left you. He will not forsake you. Seek him.
As Peter cried to the Lord when he was sinking in the Sea of Galilee, cry to the Lord from the sea of your circumstances. Know that he hears. Remember that he is there.
He does hear us.
In the midst of the difficulties of this week, God has answered many of the prayers and burdens above. The Lord gave abounding grace in an emergency surgery answering our prayers that the surgery went even better than expected. The Lord gave strength and provision to folks facing disheartening difficulties. The Lord gave encouragement through the truths of his Word as testified by some of these we’ve been praying for. And the Lord answered prayers and brought very sick folks home from Covid hospitalizations.
So, trust in the Lord.