Okay, God. Now what? I know Youíre still in the midst of all of this. I guess I just donít understand what my role is supposed to be here.
Youíve taught us that You want us to be humble. To exhibit humility at all times. To praise You in all things. To be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen. In all things, to work for peace and mutual edification. To turn the other cheek. To judge not, lest we be judged. To work for Your glory, not our own. To forgive seventy times seven. To die to ourselves and live in You.
But for how long?
Donít You also tell us that if someone wrongs us, we should bring it to their attention once . . . then twice . . . then walk away? To be Your light to the world, but separate ourselves from evil?
We judge not . . . yet still we are judged by others. We are slow to speak and slow to anger, but yet receive in return anger and bitter condemnation for our silence.
The high road is definitely the narrow and more difficult way. For You Iím willing to do it . . . only for You. There is no other who is worth it. But how much is too much? How do we know when weíve reached that point where Your way is to walk away?
The world would say that sometimes there are ďacceptable losses.Ē But You have said Your deepest desire is that none should perish. The ministry You created through us has helped some see You more clearly. For that I praise You not us. But how do we continue Your ministry in a place so fraught with contention? So filled with men in leadership roles who seem to seek their own agenda, not Yours? Can Your Spirit thrive there? I know You can make anything happen anywhere . . . if it is Your will. But at what cost? Would You have us minister in a place where the only way to get Your message to the people is to sacrifice our dignity and self-respect in the process?
I know You personally appoint all of our leaders by Your hand for Your purpose. Your thoughts are not our thoughts. But why would You appoint a pastor to a church who acts as if he is above grace? Who would reject an anointed spirit-filled ministry for a staff member of ill repute for the sake of having the large choir he always wanted? A pastor whose strongest desire is the admiration of his congregation. Who feels HE is the reason people are at church . . . not You. A pastor who would demand respect, loyalty and reconciliation instead of earning it.
Search my heart, oh God. Reveal what I am missing here. If there is any unconfessed sin in my heart, reveal it. My strongest desire is to be clean before You. If Iím clean before You, I can face any trial You place before me. I seek reconciliation with You first and foremost. And if You so desire, I will reconcile with that church. Show me Your desire, Lord.
Jesus and the disciples faced similar challenges. Jesus was rejected by his own family and his hometown. The disciples were run out of more than one town for speaking THE truth . . . Your truth. How did they feel? Did they feel like failures because Your message wasnít heard there? Did they feel the need to stay where they were not wanted to reach the few who had ears to hear?
Sometimes I feel Your presence so close to me that I nearly lose my breath in Your embrace. But sometimes I feel so horribly human . . . so separated from Your thoughts. Tell me what You want, Lord.
The only way I know how to walk in Your will is to be Your light to the world. To reflect Your grace and mercy. To love as You love. To try to act as You would act . . . as Jesus would if He were still walking the earth. But I feel so inadequate . . . so unequal to the task. Be my strength, Lord. Let it be You working through me. Help me always to remember that itís not about what I can do but about what You can do through me. Help me see these people through Your eyes. Help me to love them as You love them. Help me to not take offense at their hurtful words . . . to not be insulted by their lies and unforgiving hearts.
What would You have me do Lord? Write to them? Call them? Go see them? Walk away from it all? Again I put it in Your hands, God. I will follow Your lead . . . in the interest of being right before You. I will do as You wish, forsaking myself for You and You alone. Not for those people, not for that church, not for the admiration of others . . . but for You alone. IF I do that, I will have peace regardless of the outcome. If I do that, then I will know that the outcome is Your doing, not mine or anyone elseís. I plead for Your hand to be with me and Your will to be done. In Jesusí precious name.
--Amen and Amen
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Wonderfully presented. A struggle every believer has had to experience.
Just because a person is a Pastor, doesn't mean that he/she was called to be a Pastor. My heart goes out to you. May God give you the wisdom and guidance to know what to do. May He use you to shine His love and His light in our religious culture that so desperately needs to see Him. Your brother in Christ, Steve
How do you rate a prayer from the heart? I read this and my heart goes out to you. I want to give an answer to your questions, but none come to me. Instead, I give you this blessing. May the storm rage outside you, and God's peace dwell inside. David