Enjoying the Journey
Pastors have their own hurts as they seek to help hurting people. A minister who cannot grieve does not have the heart of the Chief Shepherd. I thank the Lord for faithful pastors and pray that God will continue to encourage and use them. Below is a very personal article written by my friend Pastor Mark Fowler during a recent period of ministry to a hurting family. I am passing it along, by permission, with the prayer that God will use it to help another pastor and perhaps another church member to encourage their own pastor…
I kept saying this over and over to myself this week, “The pastor is not supposed to cry. I am supposed to be the strong one. I am supposed to be the shoulder to cry on.” None of this rationale in my mind stopped the tears. This has been a hard week.
As I pulled into the ER, I did not know what I was walking into. A church member had called and her husband wasn’t doing well. After meeting with the doctors, she told me the gravity of the situation. I could not help but cry. I tried to be strong, but it wasn’t working. I watched as another church member, who is a nurse, ministered to him in the hospital. Our eyes met. I knew the diagnosis wasn’t good. His days on this earth were ending.
This week I have sat in the ICU and watched as a loving church family ministered to one of its own. I am thankful to pastor a caring church. It was a joy to see; but still during this, I struggled.
I had to say goodbye to more than a church member. I had to say goodbye to a friend. He was a spiritual man. He loved his Pastor and his church family. I had to say goodbye to one of my biggest supporters. God used him to close the mouth of the gossip, to give lovingly, and to encourage those in need. He understood the Pastor’s heart. I could talk to him about anything and know it would never leave his lips. He ministered to my extended family. He gave and expected nothing in return. He loved me and I loved him.
So, this week I have sought to minister to a hurting wife, but I have needed my own answers. I have told the Lord I could pastor this church better with my friend here with me; but, I must believe and accept the same verses that I have quoted to others. It is true God makes no mistakes. His ways are not our ways.
A church is family. This week there has been a death in my family. I know pastors aren’t supposed to cry but this week you will have to forgive the red eyes and the tears. I cannot help myself.
I have cried before over others and I am asking God to help me to continue to love and to cry. I want to be thankful for the time God has given us together with friends and loved ones on this journey. When we say goodbye to someone we love, we must rejoice in what they have gained and not dwell on what we have lost.
“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Romans 12:15