It is hard being a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For within the role is the dynamic of all of God and then all of who we are.
All of God are the miracles and the signs and the wonders.
All of us are the aches and pains and the loss and the sorrow that we each personally have.
We preach healing and we experience sickness ourselves.
We declare healthy lives and we struggle with estranged relationships.
We teach and lead others to Christ and then can barely find him for ourselves.
I am reminded of Elijah in the book of 1 Kings chapters 18 & 19.
Elijah was a mighty man of God. He walked in obedience and risked his life time and again to bring the word of the Lord.
For instance, in 1 Kings 18 we find him battling it out with the priests of Baal with a mighty result,
“Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench!” 18:38
A great work of the Lord to be followed by another miracle (Read 1 Kings 18:41-44) and then special strength,
“Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his beltand ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.” 1 Kings 18:46
All of this simply shows the Holy Spirit pouring through Elijah. As God and Elijah worked as one, mighty miracles took place and a great witness of the Lord’s power was established.
And then that particular work was over and Elijah went off into the wilderness and we read,
“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” 1 Kings 19:4
After the great works of the Lord Elijah finds himself despondent and oh so very human. He is dejected and tired, to the point of wanting the Lord to take him.
Don’t we all feel this in our persons? After a work of God pouring through us we are simply reminded of our humanity and the frailty of our hearts and minds and lives.
Praying healing over a crowd, speaking God’s heart to your congregation, visiting the sick and the down-trodden, all this and more carries a mark of God upon it, and when the work ceases for a time we must simply rest.
I suggest that the exhaustion after God’s work is simply very normal. It is something we can in fact expect. Always remembering that in that exhausted place the Lord cares for us.
“Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” 6 He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.
7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”
8 So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai,the mountain of God. 9 There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.” 1 Kings 19:5-9
Ministering the Lord to others is not about us being larger than life. It is about the extraordinary of God stirring through our very ordinary lives.
If we expect to be extraordinary, we will be disappointed and disillusioned.
No, rather it is our God who is extraordinary. And in fact, when we feel very human, we can be sure we have just encountered our living God.
For it is the contrast of us and God that reminds us of our weakness.
The good news is that where we know we are weak there the Lord is strong indeed.
Time and again we find in the Bible promises and hope for those who are weak:
“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Isaiah 40:29
Paul himself said this, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
In all this we come to find that there is nothing to fear in weakness.
We find that our humanity and the frailty of being human is exactly what God wants to harness for his Kingdom.
When we know our weakness, when we feel our humanity, that is when we depend on God more than ever before, and that is when there is more room for God to work.
And through it all, the hardships, the deprivations, the sacrifice we find as the Psalmist did,
“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” Psalm 73:26
Be strong in the Lord today, as you bring him your weakness. Allow the Spirit to inhabit all of your life and simply be blessed today.