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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

03 Apr '13

Perseverance when times are hard

Posted by T.J. Addington in Perseverance

Discouragement is one of the prices of ministry leadership. Coupled with fatigue it is even deadlier. It is Jonah sitting under a tree wanting to die, Elijah the same having escaped from Ahab or David hiding out in a cave from Saul. It is Timothy taking shots because he was young. It is the grind of ministry with the demands of people situations, arrows that come, conflicts to be mediated that place us in seasons of tiredness. This is equally true for vocational or lay ministry leaders.

There are times in life when our primary assignment from God is simply to persevere - to gut it out in the face of discouragement, adversity, illness, or issues of life that leave us tired, used up and emotionally and physically drained. The very act of perseverance can be a huge act of obedience in those tough times. Sometimes perseverance in the face of adversity is the one thing we must concentrate on above all others.

When we choose to throw in the towel – many do, the evil one wins. If we get angry – it is easy – the evil one wins. If we ignore it, we do so at our own peril. If we go into self pity, we surrender to others or our situation.

One thing I have learned is that one should never walk through times of adversity and discouragement alone. Our perspective and judgment is impaired by the circumstances and fatigue we face. This is when we need our most trusted friends and confidants who will speak truth to us and provide us with perspective we don’t have at the moment.

The second thing I have learned is the absolute necessity of rest – whether we think we have the time for it or not. Lack of rest leaves us dangerously low on reserves that we desperately need. Fatigue over a long period is dangerous.

Finally, this is the time to really press into God. Not necessarily looking for justice or resolution but looking for His presence to minister to us personally. To be with us. To experience His love and grace and mercy in the midst of our pain. Too often our pressing in is for resolution and justice when what we really need at the moment most is Him: to be still and know that He is God.

Discouragement and fatigue are seasons of ministry. All of us face those seasons, not all make it through. To make it through one needs a strategy: key people, rest and seeking the person of God for no other reason than we need Him. Remember there always comes a new dawn with new promise. As Jeremiah reminds us as he stood in the rubble of Jerusalem, His mercies are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness. That is true in hard times and good!