I’m embarrassed and a little ashamed to admit that when I first started in ministry and life became chaotic, the easiest place to cut back was in my time with God.
That may seem completely crazy for a preacher to say, but it was true. The prayer time, the time in the Word, the time with devotions and books that fed my soul, all of that was far less demanding than the staff member that needed to be seen, the funeral that needed to be done, the sermon that needed to be written, the son or daughter that needed loving time and attention.
So, I would give God short shift. Dashing off a quick prayer, scanning a few verses of scripture, I would promise God that I would do better when time allowed. And God never complained. It is the nature of God’s love to allow us the freedom to turn our backs on Him anytime, anywhere, under any circumstance. And God never complains. But there are significant consequences to be suffered: a sense of loss and lacking, the lost sense of intimacy with the Divine, a hollowness of life that leaves me feeling more fatigued. I quickly realized that when life becomes crazy the very last thing I could afford to lose was my connection to God.
Now, when life verges on the overwhelming, I stop writing and start listening to God with greater time, intensity and focus. It keeps me grounded and well equipped for the challenges of the moment.
Since Christmas I have been dealing with my mother’s deteriorating health and mental acuity, as well as many funerals, staff transition, the demands of a two-campus strategy, and everything else that goes with large church ministry. I’m not complaining; quite the contrary, actually. I’m at peace with my mom’s health, praying daily for her eventual transition from this life to the life that is ours in Christ. For her, she will be with my dad again for the first time in more than 45 years, and she will hold in her arms the child she lost right after birth. That will be such a blessing.
As for the funerals – for me it is such a privilege to celebrate the lives of the saints in our church. It is a rare blessing to be able to tell their stories and rejoice in their lives that have not ended, but dawned anew.
Ah, and the staff – they are so incredible; I’m more excited now than I have ever been about working with the amazing professional team of people we call The Summit Staff! Our new building should be open in 18 weeks, and that is nothing short of a miracle! We now have the congregation and staff to make it a place of incredible ministry!
In short, it is well with me; I just haven’t had the time to tell you so. Please forgive my lack of writing, it is not indicative of a lack of love or commitment. I’ve just needed to spend the time with God.