Are you in ministry? Do you serve others in some capacity for the Lord? Then may I share with you a little cautionary wisdom? When God is on the move and ministry is on your heart all hell will break loose. Count on it.
When my husband and I served at our first marriage conference we woke up to snow that morning. Snow rarely ever happens in our town. It showed up that day. Our Chevy Suburban was loaded down with tons of food for the fifty people coming. The roads were closed. We prayed and persevered and made it there later than planned but in enough time to get ready for arriving guests.
No matter where I sign up to serve or what I decide to do, the moment I’m needed to fulfill that “something” it’s guaranteed our car will break down, one of the kids will get a cold, or me and Paul will argue about something ridiculously silly. I’ve come to expect it.
When All Hell Breaks Loose
Recently, I spoke at a woman’s conference in the Smoky Mountains. A four hour drive from our house, the location was breathtaking. The women were incredibly kind and everything seemed to be going perfectly until day two. A telephone call home exposed a family emergency going on and though Paul said he could handle it, I was sick to my stomach with worry.
Sometimes offering yourself as a vessel for the presence and work of God is costly. – John Ortberg
My heart began to pound and my thoughts tormented me. What an awful mother you are. Your family is your true ministry. How can you face these ladies and speak when all hell is breaking loose at home?
I made my way back to my room and the Lord got an earful. How could you bring me four hours away from my loved ones when they need me? After many tears the Lord’s answer to my frantic prayers and fretful thoughts came through His word.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:1-5 NIV
The devotion that was included with this verse is what confirmed God’s silent encouragement to persevere.
Adversity invites leaders to lead. It is your time to trust the Lord and lead by faith, not fear. In hard times a leader asks, “Will I panic or pray?” “Will I stay calm or be sucked into the chaos?” “Will I serve the team or stay secluded in silence?” Jesus faced death, but He was determined to stay focused on His heavenly Father and the mission at hand. Adversity is an opportunity to prove the point of Providence. Christ is in control.– (Wisdom Hunters 2013)
Jesus knew Judas had left and would return with soldiers. He was fully aware of the few hours left before he would experience a horrific crucifixion and “all hell would break loose”.
Still, he calmly served.
Don’t Be Surprised
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1Peter 4:12-13
Remember, all hell breaks loose when God’s greatest work is at hand. Consider trials in ministry a backhanded compliment of the enemy. To him you are a worthy enough adversary to oppose. Do not panic or get sucked into chaos.
The world responded to Christ’s greatest ministry work on the cross with darkness and earthquakes. So, why are we surprised with trials in ministry? Be encouraged with an earthquake or two. It’s a holy response to God’s work and your service.
Pray and persevere. God can give you all you need to overcome any obstacle.
There is a cost to serving. Christ is our example. But, like our savior, we must continue to feed and serve the sheep and consider it an honor when we come up against opposition.
As for me and the women’s conference? I thanked God for the trial that almost derailed my weekend. I praised Him for His word and new-found peace. I washed my face and put on a little lipstick, then finished another day of sharing. Those precious women never knew the struggle I faced. With all hell breaking loose, I washed the feet of His sheep.