´Turn yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted
The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distress´ Ps 25:16-17
2012 and the beginning of 2013 was a troublesome time for me and for the ministry I was in. The result is described in the verse above, I was wounded and hurt. Spiritually I was weared out due to the situation, spiritual pressure and ministerial stress, lots of conflicts all around, extremely difficult and complicated conflicts. It was hard to orient in it to see truth and Gods presence. I still don´t understand fully what took place but that´s not my point.
The point is my soul was wounded, deeply hurt! Praise the Lord for my dear, dear wife who stood by my side all throughout this. Well, finally the Lord gave me a word telling us to move back home to Sweden so we did. It was really a word of salvation when considering what is going on in Ukraine at the moment of this writing.
What I understood was it was time for a timeout from ministry, my soul needed restoration, healing. Not necessarily counseling but healing. The distress needed to come out of my spirit. Praise God for God, for some good friends I could talk to, pour out my grief and disappointments. It made the burden to slowly lift and go away.
Let me say a few words about ministerial stress! Remember, your family and wife is far more important than ´ministry´. Ministry is a calling but its also a work, the Lords work. Family is not ministry nor work, its your lifebase. Your wife/husband has an uncomprable place in your life, not to be compared neither ministry nor church membership, loyalty to a spiritual leader. Marriage is sacramental, holy and instituted before all the above mentioned.
Secondly, when your heart is hurting ministry especially preaching and teaching is not the place to pour hurt your pain, prayer and holy talking is the place. Preaching and teaching is a monologue, a hurting spirit needs dialogue!
Slowly the pain reliefed and my faith started to restore, there are still questions to answer, maybe some relationships to sort out but the stress is gone. Peace fills my soul.
Unfortunetely I have seen to many ministers not daring a timeout when in distress, to take a step back and rest, relax, distansing themselves from the cause of pain. Why are we preachers so afraid sometimes? Afraid to loose income! Afraid not to have any callings to come and minister in! Fear is no good motivator at all.
2013 was a year of great change in my life, it became as the Lord said to me in the end of 2012, a new season.
The Lord gave me a word recently and He said to me ´It´s COMEBACK time´! The harvest is truly great and the labourers are few and sometimes weary in the battle, growing tired and the Lord desires to lift their arms, strengthen their spirits, refresh their souls. My heart is burning for especially the new planted churches (By the way I believe we need thousands of new churches around the world) and for the pastors fighting in the front line. I have been instrumental in planting quite a few churches and I know something about the struggle, stress and fatigue that is involved in doing that.
God bless you all who labor and fight in the ministry, the Lord is with you more than you sometimes feel and realise! See you through out 2104!