As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have been through storms, moments of dryness and immense difficulty through various situations. I have understood that before every victory, we face mountains of disappointment, weakness in spirit and in the physical that threatens to take hold of us, pulling us to wallow in despair. The idealism of many that the christian life is not one of hardship is flawed and unscriptural for even the apostles in the early church faced insurmountable odds, even giving up their lives for the work to continue. Regardless of the difficulty, the exhortation is to consider it pure joy.
James 1:2-3 states – “2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
Thus I stand in complete joy, not because I was told to change my outlook on it but because I see amidst the veil of calamity the silver lining to which our hope is placed. When everything falls apart, our call is to be still and trust in God. The psalmist once wrote in Psalm 42:5
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation”
Yes we are cast down, yet each moment; those who walk in righteousness must take it upon themselves to preach to ones self that our hope is in God. Several years back, storms ravaged through my life especially in ministry. I stood in the midst of people I thought walked in righteousness, desired truth. I gave much, offering my life as a drink offering, standing with my family who gave so much as well to people who disdained the good we did. I saw friends go, enemies multiply. The good you do mocked and the the kindness you exude spat on. Heavy is the yoke a minister bears. You are called to sow yet the ground is rocky, irregular, infertile; and the birds fly around; stealing the word of God from the hearts of those who we gave our lives to impact and change. Despite the birds, the call is to sow, to plant; to preach the word in season and out of season. In all those times, even as I write this- one thing stood amidst the crashing waves of despair; my hope which is in God.
I look back on these things now as we have entered 6 years in church planting, I personally stand before each one of you; faithfully serving God for 14 years as a pastor and minister- not because of my strength and resolve. Like any person, I am but a frail, weak creature who seeks strength from the One who gave me life. We work and strive not for fame, glory, wealth or adulation; I stand to preach the word of God to see lives transformed, to answer the call of the King despite the people, despite the birds, despite the circumstance and situation. To this day, disappointment never ceases when we work in ministry, but regardless of that- I stand not to give up for my hope is in God. A song I heard one day that helped me through this path I take- Be still! Never giving up despite trouble. My life is given for the glory of God, in Him I place my hope- in Christ rises my victory!
Pastor L.A. Lopez