On making it alright to crumble sometimes


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?
Psalm 77:12-13

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8 Responses to On making it alright to crumble sometimes

  1. Karen Joy says:

    Thank you for sharing this my friend
    Keeping you in my prayers

  2. Icklesis says:

    Did not know what you were going through. Will be praying for refreshment and a renewal of purpose. God loves you as a man after His own heart.

  3. Lew says:

    As a minister who has more than once found himself in similar straits, may I recommend “The Minister’s Fainting Fits” from Charles Spurgeon’s Lectures To My Students?

  4. Thanks brother. I can identify with this too, as many can, but with a whole bunch of different circumstances. It is a gift from God, but not always a pleasant one.

    • neilrobbie says:

      Thanks 2steps2heaven, we know it comes with the territory but it doesn’t make it easy. 2 Cor 2:8-10:

      We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

  5. greyjonestudio says:

    You and A have been on my mind since our last design-related chat. (It’s been a horrible 6 months for us also.) We take comfort that He is sovereign, even if we cannot see the out workings of that immediately. Hang in there brother…

    • neilrobbie says:

      You too. As well as trusting that good will come, we are like Job, as we are brought low in suffering we see that God is ever so very big and that Christ is our only hope, our great redeemer.

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