Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corin. 1:3-4
The last couple weeks I have noticed that I have been a little critical, a little snappy, and I could add a few more adjectives to the list. I got to thinking about how easy it is to get busy trying to do ministry and watching current events that we neglect our souls and even those around us. Psalm 139:23-24 came to my mind, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” God graciously showed me some things that I hadn’t noticed lately. In particular, I have allowed the craziness of life the past few months to affect my walk with Him.
As a follower of Jesus, I want to spend time with the Lord, be nourished by His presence and His Word, cast my cares upon Him, and rest in Him. I think that when we get busy, even busy with ministry, it is easy to stop relying on God for His help, His guidance, His strength, and His empowerment. We sometimes forget that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). A couple of weeks ago, I felt like I ran into a wall. I was exhausted and had to push myself to keep going. I don’t remember experiencing that degree of fatigue in the past. I’ve talked to many pastor friends who have expressed that same exhaustion. I was reminded this morning that Jesus invites us to come to Him and find rest (Matthew 11:28).
Then I got to thinking about church members and church staff. I wonder if they are caring for their souls. I realize that so many are going through difficulties right now with their jobs, working from home, teaching their children, no childcare, isolation, health concerns, fear, anxiety, frustrations, and so many unknowns. As a Pastor, I want to help care for souls. I realize that I must first watch out for my own soul before I can offer much help to others.
Allow me to mention a few things that I am trying to remind myself:
- I need time alone with God to hear His voice, receive His help and comfort, acknowledge and confess my sin and find rest for my soul.
- I need to take care of my body through rest, exercise, eating right, etc.
- I need to take control of my thoughts and think on things I know to be true and praiseworthy. Too much information and news can be draining and discouraging.
- I need to take some time for personal evaluation of how I’m doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. Do I have some sins to confess and areas where I need God’s help?
- I need to refocus on Christ and His faithfulness, sufficiency, and providential care for me.
Lots of people we know and love are going through some difficult times right now. We can help by offering a listening ear, a few words of encouragement, and maybe a heart-felt prayer. Our staff was able to spend some time this week considering 3 questions and praying for one another. Maybe you could ask these questions of someone you know and love.
- What has been most impactful/difficult on your life/family during this COVID-19 crisis?
- How are you doing right now spiritually/emotionally/mentally/physically?
- How can we pray for you?
If we can offer a listening ear or minister to you in some way please let us know.
I’ll be out of town a few days this week to celebrate 25 years with Jenny. I’m a blessed man!