Building People of Substance for Works of Power
After a recent ministry trip, I had the opportunity to chat with one of my team members. He reported he had experienced severe exhaustion and depression after we got home. I was able to tell him, “Me, too.” Even though we had a wonderful trip with great results, there came a time afterward of tremendous self-doubt, condemnation, and physical distress. This is not unusual. We often spend time praying and preparing before our spiritual endeavors, knowing that the enemy will try to stop the Word by stopping us. We make sure our prayer team is engaged, and we are covered and ready. We usually don’t warn young ministers that there is an attack in the aftermath of great spiritual battles, even when we win!
My favorite example of the day after “hangover” is Elijah. Remember in 1 Kings 19, he has just called down fire from Heaven, vanquished all the prophets of Baal, prayed down rain to end the drought, and then outrun Ahab’s chariot back to the city. What a great week! Immediately he is confronted by Jezebel, who informs him, ““May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.” His response? He went out into the desert, sat under a broom tree, and prayed to die. Some things to remember for times under your broom tree:
1. Your emotions are not reality. When Jezebel screams loud and fear comes hard, remember what God said. He called you, He anointed you, and He does not change His mind. Romans 11:29
2. You are not alone. Elijah tended to think he was the only one serving God, but he wasn’t. In times of despair we tend to isolate, but you are not unique. Find at least one other person who “gets it” and talk to them. 1 Corinthians 10:13
3. You should keep your mouth shut. This is not the time to blow off steam at other people or tell them how awful it is to serve God, or how worthless you are. You don’t want to say things you will alter regret. James 3:2
4. Don’t make big decisions. You can quit the ministry next week. The house will still be marketable at the end of the month. Whatever it is, don’t do it today. Isaiah 28:16
5. Do something you enjoy. I cook. I read political stuff. I binge on cop shows. I ride my bike You are not your ministry. You can mindlessly enjoy life without guilt. Ecclesiastes 5:18-19
6. Get a good meal and a good night’s sleep. Really. It will make life better.
Somebody Said: “In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.“ Vincent Van Gogh
Scripture Reading: “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked. (Proverbs 24:16 NLT)
Ministry is a wonderful thing, but there is no guarantee it will always be easy. The great thing is your job is to prepare, give it your best shot, and let the Word, and the Spirit do the work. Results are God’s problem. Don’t get caught up in evaluating your worth by your perception of success. A friend of mine used to tell me, “The Bible only says It came to pass. It never came to stay.” Thank God!
Pastor Virgil Stokes
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745