This ministry moment feels like getting to the end of a marathon, only to find the starting line of the next marathon at your feet!
Leaders are tired, fatigued, burdened. On top of this, the course for this second marathon is barely visible.
Despite our sense of the 'unprecedented', it's worth being reminded that ministry in the 21st century looks a lot like ministry in the 1st century!
"For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself". 2 Corinthians 1:8
The Apostle Paul wants the Corinthians to know the pain, complexity, and challenges of his ministry in Asia.
He doesn’t hide the weight of grief, suffering, and agony that took him to the edge. He is vulnerable about the violence he has faced.
Note what he writes in 2 Corinthians 1:9— "Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead".
The cross-shaped life
Ministry that is shaped by the cross—a cruciform life—can sometimes feel like death.
Death to the belief in our ability to control circumstances. Death to our self-reliance. Death to our pride.
One of the most precious things God does in our lives is to break us by breaking the hold our idols have on us.
Why is this precious? In our humility we know and understand more of God. We see him clearly and trust him more deeply.
He is the one who raised Jesus from the dead, he raises us from our spiritual death, and he will raise us from physical death when he returns. He does it for our good and his glory.
Changed for good
Going 'back to normal' might sound good, but the reality is that it is never truly possible. When we allow the cross to shape our lives, we are profoundly challenged and changed.
Our world might feel and look uncertain as kingdoms rise and fall... but we have a sure and certain hope in the one who saved us and continues the good work he began until the day of completion.