A young man called today. He's a young, good, ambitious preacher. He had one question, "When you were young, did you ever want to quit?" This...is why I blog. I visited with him about this matter and now I share with others of you asking similar questions.
I can't remember wanting to quit. I may have. I can remember wishing some would commit membericide. Oooooh! I've hit some really hard-core meanness. There were times I thought I was finished; but I didn't want to quit. I just didn't know how to get around obstacles called people. I can remember wishing some members or owners of brotherhood publications would just go away. I do recall great disruption in the process of getting to today.
What I learned was I needed this to happen to me; I needed suffering to grow.
I know of no other way God trains His leaders. Ministry must have an element (a strong presence) of pain. For one, I needed to grow up. I still possess such need. Suffering is similar to applying a hot iron to a wrinkled garment lying on an ironing board. We need the wrinkles taken out of us and hot pressure is the only thing which will work. Suffering is connected to the cross and we are to take ours up everyday....right? Ministry has elements of some trying to kill us and we've got it coming.
Do we think we are to encounter struggle painlessly? Ministry does not come with Novacane. We have volunteered to be insulted, rebuked, and hurt. Peter wrote that we are not to regard this as the exception, but the rule. We are placed in a position of anticipated rugged discomfort. Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered and as a result became the source of eternal life. We become sources of eternal life...but never without the same process as Jesus.
Pain and agony are necessary parts of being a minister. The more we suffer the more we see our people come alive. There is definite parallel in painful suffering and wonder-full life! Hold on as long as you can. Don't quit. Die trying....but don't quit. Call me when you are tempted to cash it in. Maybe we can cheer one another on. For the one who did call me.....thank you.