[Molly and I had an art project together. She drew the pictures and the words and I put them together in Photoshop. Yes, she did the harder part 🙂 ]
You may not realize this, but when one bad thing happens in your life, everything else doesn’t stop to allow you to take care of your new challenge. Wouldn’t it be nice if it worked that way. This last week seemed to be evidence of this reality. While the elders of our church have been amazing and have gone out of there way to relieve me (us) of as many burdens as possible, I can’t stop being a pastor just because life seems to be screaming at me.
Our house doesn’t realize that Linda is going through cancer. It’s so insensitive. Normal wear and tear continues. Doors don’t close right, bathtubs begin to leak, garage doors refuse to open, paint chips off the walls . . . By the way, that didn’t all happen this week. I’m just saying. Stuff happens regardless of your circumstances.
Our kids lives continue unabated. They continue to go to baseball practice and want to spend the night at people’s homes. They get bored as they sit on their day off, staring out the window as an inch worth of sleet piles onto their basketball court which only yesterday beckoned them to come play.
Believe it or not, bills still need to be paid. Not only do bills need to be paid, more seem to be coming lately. You’d think all the bill collectors would realize we are going through a hard time and give us a break . . . waiting . . . nope. No break to be seen.
Seminary classes have been pushed off for two semesters now. Is that a dream that needs to die? My cohorts have continued on. They’re probably well into their projects by this point, and I’ve ceased my scholastic endeavors for the last 7 months. They all moved on without me.
I’ll stop now . . . not because I can’t think of anything else but because I think I’ve probably made my point. What point is that? Life (and your responsibilities in life) continue on in the face of hardship.
So you may ask if I just needed to vent, maybe even whine just a little bit. That’s not it at all. I just wanted to acknowledge the reality, a reality that offers a host of opportunity.
(1) Claim the offer by Christ to rest in Him.
Matthew 11:28–30 (ESV) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(2) Better empathize with people who suffer hardship, realizing that all their other responsibilities have not ceased just because they enter a period of difficulty. I would sure imagine I realized that before, but I now realize it more acutely.
(3) Put into practice the exhortation by James to see trials as an opportunity for growth in maturity.
James 1:2–4 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
So then, do we desire your sympathy . . . maybe some days . . . but more often than not . . . No. We have the amazing blessing of having been led to the resting place of Christ, and we’re in the process of being molded into the vessels God desires of us. That’s something to celebrate, not mourn.
But . . . I do really need a nap!