As a pastor, every normal occurrence that I have in ministry comes in spurts. What I mean is that it seems that people get sick and I visit the hospitals in spurts. People pass away and funerals come in spurts. People coming to faith in Christ and baptisms often seem to come in spurts. People joining our church seems to come in spurts. And, people seem to have difficulties and struggles in spurts. Or, maybe it’s just that I hear about them or I am asked for help during these struggles in spurts.
Either way, when I find myself in a spurt of difficulties and struggles I always find myself less trying to counsel and more trying to simply encourage. By the way, if you’re a pastor or a counselor please know this: when people come to you with there struggles they don’t need you to try to fix their problems. You and I are not able to do that anyway. What they need more than anything is to be encouraged. Encouraged to do what?
- To continue. Sometimes people just need to be reminded that they need to just keep going. What they are dealing with is a season and seasons end.
- To remain faithful. Someone who’s struggling must be reminded that God is up to something. He is always working out HIs plan (to glorify Himself) and that’s especially true when we’re struggling. So, keep strong in your faith and trust in Him. Everything, in the end, will always be okay.
- To fight the Philippians 4:8 fight. What I mean is this: sometimes the biggest struggle is the one that is going on in our mind and emotions. So, those who struggle must fight for what they’re thinking and make sure it is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praise worthy. Then, you’ll have the ability to continue and even smile during trial.
- Let God have it. Earlier in chapter 4 of Philippians Paul states that we should be anxious for nothing. (If you’re human you struggle with that command.) But, I was reminded tonight why we can give “everything by prayer and supplication” to God.
One of our men prayed something at church tonight that struck me and I told him I was going to steal it. (So, thanks Nate!) Here is what he prayed:
“Help us to cast our anxieties on you because you’ll be up all night anyway.”
This is why we let God have it; because He’s always at work. This is not a religious crutch but an absolute truth. God never sleeps and He’s always inviting us to leave our anxieties on Him. Because He not only can handle it, but He does.