For the past couple of days, I've been working on a pastoral situation where it seems nothing has gone right. I've been heavy in spirit--discouraged really.
Then last night in Bible study, two members of the church approached me separately with small gifts. Both thanked me for what they see as faithful shepherding in their lives.
I can't count the number of times I've been downcast in soul and God kindly sent someone to me to point out evidence of His gracious work in and/or around me. When my soul falls He is ever there to pick it up. I'm thankful for the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:26).
I'm also thankful for the trials that push me out of myself, depletes my self-dependence, and makes me cry to the Lord. "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees" (Ps. 119:71).
I cannot agree more. This too has been my experience as a pastor. Each divinely positioned bump in pastoral ministry has always been leveled by a divinely placed steam roller. There have been countless times where I have been downcast and discouraged because of ministry not going the way you pray it will go or because of attacks from within and outside the church. But with each time, God has been gracious enough to sustain me with a perfectly timed moment of grace to encourage me. It may be Holly giving me an encouraging word. It might be a note from a church member expressing their appreciation or even a geneous gift of thanksgiving. God uses those moments to sustain a pastor and remind him that his labor in the Lord is not in vain.