What do you do with a breaking heart? What do you do with dreams that have crashed on the shores of reality? What do you do with an overwhelming spirit of disappointment?
I ask because these moments happen to all of us from time to time. They happen to age-old spiritual giants and fresh-eyed new believers. They happen to Popes, Bishops, and clergy of all spiritual shapes and sizes. They happen to you and me, these moments of desperation.
I have been accused of being "Polly Anna"and even of wearing rose-colored glasses most of my life, but I believe there are several things we can do, things we must do. The first is obvious, so obvious I don't need to say it, but I am going to say it, because we preachers tend to forget it. Firstly, we turn to the Rock of our Salvation. We need to fall on our knees and to seek the face and heart of God. I have been reminded in my daily devotional, Jesus Calling, that we can not ever get away from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Sarah Young shares the words from Hebrews, "I am the same yesterday, today, and forever," and she adds, "Because I never change, your relationship with Me provides a rock-solid foundation for your life. I will never leave your side." First things --- move into the arms of our Lord.
The second thing we can do is turn into the arms of those who love us, who love us with all our imperfections and idiosyncrasies. God has blessed us with the opportunity to share in ministry with men and women who understand the trials and the successes of this ministry. We are a unique lot for sure, but we are all together in this exciting and. at times, painful journey. We need each other. I cannot stress it enough; we need one another. In the care of a sister or brother/friend/colleague, there is healing and strength. Ministry in the heart of God was never meant to be done alone as a great Lone Ranger. No, scripture does not say that explicitly, but it's there all throughout from Genesis to Revelation.
I guess a third thing to do is to remember to practice what we preach!! (I know that stung.) Yes, live in the hope and the promise we preach. No, don't fake it till you make it, but live it till you get through it. It is through the valley the Good Shepherd promises to be with us (see the first point above), not around or over or under and not making it disappear. We tell this to our congregations, and so we need to believe the Word which the Holy Spirit puts into our hearts to share by Word and by deed.
The hymn We Will Overcome is ringing in my heart just now as I write these words. One day we shall overcome the broken heart, the crashed dreams, the disappointments, and we shall find the glory of God surrounding us.
Never forget that I am here to help you overcome and to walk with you through the valleys. I love each of you and count it a high honor to serve you in this role as Superintendent. Maybe, I'm number four. Share the burden with me, and I also will help you carry it.
Much love and appreciation for you,