I’ve had a pretty rough six months or so in ministry such that by Christmas I was clinging on by my fingernails. I had lost sight of God and wondered if he’d forgotten to be merciful (Ps 77:1-9). I clung to Christ and him crucified, but the tenderness of my affections for him became tenderless. Some of what happened was self-inflicted, but much was beyond my control. As I emerge from the depths of the valley, I realise that it is okay to be really down, as long as we don’t wallow in self-pity or lose hope in the goodness and sovereignty of God in all things.
A number of circumstances combined to overwhelm me. A forced change in the way I organised myself and church life, which has resulted in my finding a new and better way of coordinating my diary and task list, but only after a term of total disorganisation. As a result of being disorganised to the point of discombobulation, I took too much on, and created a ministry treadmill which was spinning too fast with no off button. We had a persistent VDP on our doorstep (Gone) who we loved with the love of Christ, listened to and to whom we ministered God’s word which brought about real change. God has blessed him but left us drained. We also had very serious pastoral issues which made life hard for many people in church and community. I could not cope. I stopped praying and felt continually emotionally wasted.
I can’t tell what good or ill has resulted. I know that good will come. I’ve learned that I can’t rely on being on a spiritual high with Christ, as I experienced from midway through my curacy until the end of my first year as a vicar. Those years were a gift from God in which the gospel of Christ became crystal clear and revived my soul. I can hope that they will come again, but it’s okay to be at the bottom of the valley as well as the top of the hill. Having been there, perhaps I’ll make a better minister, especially to anyone whose spirits are low.
I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.
Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?