“Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:1
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Often times, as a Pastor, I am asked how I am doing and how my ministry is going. Often my reply is simply “fears within and conflicts without.” I don’t know about you, but if I am honest, my life is a struggle. It’s a struggle against my own flesh. It’s a struggle to keep my heart and mind pure. It’s a struggle to bring my body into subjection. It’s a struggle to give undivided attention to God’s Word. It’s a struggle to pray. It’s a struggle to prepare a sermon week after week. It’s a struggle to preach when the church is not full. It’s a struggle to talk to people who are not my friends. It’s a struggle to raise my family properly. How often I forget that I am engaged in a battle. How often my flesh is prone to leave the God who gave everything in order to save me. How often I am discouraged in the ministry. If I’m honest, I frequently think about my responsibility, and ask, “How can I feed and shepherd people when I myself am struggling to be content in Christ?” Life is a struggle, and I, like many other men in the ministry, are not immune to it.
So, in the end, what keeps me going in the ministry? Ultimately, it is the joy and reality of God’s underserved and unending Grace. It’s by looking at Christ, who emptied himself in order to rescue an aimless rebel like me, by taking my condemnation, guilt, and shame upon Himself. He became an outcast, and the Sacrifice that quenched the very wrath of the Father which was due because of my sins. He not only saved me, but this same Christ has also given me the charge and privilege to proclaim His glorious Gospel. What a fearful thing this is. Humanly speaking, it is an impossible task apart from His sustaining grace and the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that keeps me going. It is my joy in the midst of struggle. When I understand that I do not need to compete in order to earn favor from God, I can put all my struggles aside and keep moving towards my goal, which is Jesus Christ Himself (Phil 1:21). I have no other goal but to praise, enjoy, and be satisfied in Him forever. Therefore, I can take great comfort and joy today, even in the midst of struggle, knowing the coming day when I will see His face. For the time being, I strive alongside other fellow-strugglers in the church that God has placed me to pastor. Please pray for me. Pray that I would keep my eyes on the Author and the Perfecter of my faith, and would lay aside every encumbrance and run with endurance the race that is set before me. Pray that I would be a faithful shepherd that preaches and teaches God’s Word faithfully. Pray for my wife and two children.
Could I ask you to pray for one more request? Please pray for a family in our church whose daughter ran away with a young man. This young lady has a mother who is a believer and a father who is a drunkard. We live in an honor–shame culture. Therefore, most of their relatives and neighbors are looking at the mother as a disgrace of a parent. The pressure on her is immense. Pray that the Lord would be her comfort and strength in this time. We take great comfort in knowing that we serve a Savior who was Himself a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. We have a Lord who sympathizes with every weakness, and invites the broken to lay their head upon His bosom.
The mother is not educated, and she cannot read. We recently gave her an audio Bible that she has been listening to. She is a trophy of God’s Grace and the foolishness of the gospel. It is people like this that give me inspiration to keep going in the ministry. Please pray for her. Please pray for the church as we counsel her. Pray that the mouth of the enemy would be stopped, and that the Lord would rescue both the young lady and her husband from their sins.
In His Grace,