Have you ever felt like the world was falling in around you? Have you struggled in your ministry, experiencing more failures the successes? Have you been crying out to God, but struggle hearing Him call back?
Full time ministry is joyfully exhausting. It’s easy to love what we do (youth ministry) when things are cruising along, students are connecting, relationship deepening, and battles being won. But not so much when events fail, students loose interest, parents don’t support, and leaders miss the vision of ministry.
This past year has been a roller coaster ride of epic proportions. We’ve experienced great highs, and low lows. Every time we think we climb up out of the pit we were in, we realize we were only in a crater of a much larger pit, and we need to continue climbing.
The 2008-2009 season of ministry was a wonderful year of highs; with students excited about ministry. 2009-2010 has been a season of apathy and mediocrity. I have been frustrated with most of the year. I keep asking God to show up; move the students; move in the leaders, breathe new life into the ministry but I can’t hear, see, or feel His presence.
What is happening to the world around me?
David struggled with life. And if anyone had reason to lament, David did. As a young man, David, the anointed king of Israel, was running for his life. The current king of Israel, Saul, grew violently jealous of David and the way God was blessing his life. Saul’s anger and jealousy reached the point of murder, and he sought to end David’s life. David ran and hid in caves and mountains and forest areas. Saul’s pursuit of David forced David to always be aware and on the watch.
Now I have never been hunting by the king of Israel, but let try to walk in David’s shoes. When a young teen, Samuel comes and anoints David as the next king of Israel. Then David, with God’s help, slays the giant Goliath. Then David, with God’s help, becomes a servant of the king. Then David, with God’s help, become a famous and successful warrior. Then David, flees for his life. What’s happening? I thought David was going to be the king?
Now let’s put this story in modern terms. God has spoken to your heart and called you to love students. God moves you to a place where you are able to love and ministry to a group of students. God blesses what you do and students respond to you. The future looks bright and hopeful. But then things change. Maybe it’s a relocation. Maybe it’s a new ministry. Maybe it’s a change in the student culture. Suddenly the future isn’t so bright.
David writes, what I think are, wonderful words of encouragement in Psalm 22:1-5.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. 4 In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. 5 They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
David cries out to God, but God seems so far away. David is lost, broken, full of fear, and needs his God to tell him that everything will be okay. But there was no answer.
But then David exhales, “Yet You are enthroned as the Holy One; You are the praise of Israel. In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.”
Great words of hope and encouragement. Our God is enthroned as the Holy One. Our God is faithful. And like those times in the past, God will come through, He will save, He will deliver. We need to trust.
As I look at my ministry, I need to trust that God is still seated on His throne. He is still God. Like David, I need have to look forward to a future day. God will speak. God will move. God will breathe new life into this ministry. How do I know? Why am I so confident?
Because David heard God’s voice when God was ready to speak. Despite the circumstances that David found himself in, He trusted God. And when the time was right, David took his seat on the throne of Israel.
Are you trusting God to grow and move in your ministry? Can you see through the fog you are in and know that a brighter day is coming? I hope you can, and I pray that you will.
Are you struggling right now? Share your story in the comment box. Let’s become a community of prayer and support for each other!