Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 (NASB)
My heart is heavy...
If you will be involved in the lives of people you may encounter the same kinds of emotional sorrows I write about today. I am not a pastor, but to some degree I understand the emotional weight a pastor must carry for his flock, and the weight Paul spoke of in Corinthians when he spoke of his "deep concern" for all the churches (2 Corinthians 11:28).
At this most wonderful time of the year in the middle of all the celebrations and holiday hoopla I have a heavy weight of sorrow for people I know are suffering.
There are times a blanket of sorrow settles over me as I think of dear, dear friends who have cancer and face an uncertain future. I think of families I know where the husband has not been able to find a job for a very long time and they literally have nothing outside of the generosity of others. I think of my counselee's- some who are dealing with incredibly hard things...broken marriages, husbands who have abandoned them, wives who are waiting for the divorce papers to be served, families with prodigal children, and defiant teenagers who make each day a challenge. These people also face uncertainty in that they cannot control the actions of others. As much as they desire their husband or child to do what is right and honor God it is completely out of their hands. My heart aches for my single friends who long for a mate and children, who look longingly at couples strolling hand in hand through the mall and go home to their quiet apartment each night. They wait on God as they pray for a husband and they work diligently on being content where God has them, but even then sorrow and loneliness creeps in at this time of the year.
While I have not and hope to never experience the trials and travails Paul did in his ministry, nonetheless I have difficulties in my own little world of home and family. Just the normal things of life, thank God but still life has its trials.
Not only that, but there is the pressure of dealing with all the aspects of running an ever-growing ministry. Managing the people and the different branches that are growing of Reigning Grace and Biblical Counseling for Women.
My wonderful husband describes the weight of ministry as a cloud that covers me from time to time as he watches me wrestle with the demands ministry life places upon me. He listens to me as I cry for you and hurt with your hurts, and as I pray and intercede for your needs. I have a heart for you dear people... I carry you with me each day.
If you are called to be a people helper, this is a large part of the one another ministry you are preparing for. This is part of what separates us from the professional counselors we know of. Ours is not a 9-5 Monday-Friday "job." We are servants of the Most High God who has deep compassion on His people, and we are charged to give them help, healing, and hope in this dark time of their lives. We are here with teaching and instruction in righteousness, a gentle or strong rebuke in the face of sinful actions or attitudes, and we hold out the love of God in Christ and the sufficiency of the Word of God to address the problems the counselee brings to the table.
We are to represent Christ to each person we come in contact with, and for some who come for counsel and discipleship we might be the only touch of love they receive. We may be the only people who ever pray for them or care for them. This is a heavy burden. It is one I chose because He chose me. I can no sooner walk away from it than stop breathing and live.