I conducted a funeral service yesterday for a family whose baby died after only 18 days on earth. As a pastor, without a doubt the most physically-, emotionally-, spiritually-, and mentally-draining activity I do is a funeral. The Bible says that we grieve with those who grieve, and yet in the midst of that grieving, the family and loved ones are still turning to me to give them answers. Sometimes it seems there are more questions than answers. Between the grieving and the answer seeking, it’s very draining!
But God was gracious to me. He gave me a comforting word to share at the funeral, and at the conclusion eight people said that after their days on earth were done they wanted to have the assurance that they would be welcomed into God’s presence, just as baby Blake was. I had the privilege of praying with those folks as they invited Christ into their lives!
Probably the second-most draining thing I have to do as a pastor is deal with problems in the church. And, boy, did a big one crop up this week! It was supposed to culminate in a meeting this afternoon. So yesterday I was dealing with my two most draining issues at the same time! Today, this church problem wasn’t resolved, but God gave me such a peace about its outcome. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next, but what a peace flooded my heart to let me know that He is in control.
This morning I read this great quote from Oswald Chambers—
“It is a good thing to feel our own powerlessness in the face of destruction, it makes us know how much we depend upon God. … When a man gets to despair he knows that all his thinking will never get him out, he will only get out by the sheer creative effort of God, consequently he is in the right attitude to receive from God that which he cannot gain for himself.”
I am grateful today for my powerlessness. I am grateful that I feel so dependant on God. I am grateful for the sheer creative effort of God. And I am grateful for His peace.
I’m also grateful for the challenges. Why? Because without the challenges, I would not have felt such gratitude for my powerlessness, God’s provision, and God’s peace.