Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


Getting It

"If you're not perplexed in ministry, you just don't get it."

-Dr. Mohler, Southern Seminary's Convocation Chapel, Fall 2005

Big Al said that in the midst of a sermon he was preaching on 2 Corinthians 4. He was on his third point (according to my notes, at least), which covered verses 8 through 12. Such a statement set off an avalanche of thoughts in my brain...what have I really gotten myself into? Is this what ministry is supposed to be like? Afflicted...perplexed...persecuted...struck down...this is ministry? This is life?

Of course it is. To not see that clearly in the Scriptures is to not diligently study them with the proper heart. Yet, to hear the sober expectations of ministry and life preached afresh with conviction was to hear the cries of my heart echo, albeit with Dr. Mohler's voice, through the confines of Alumni Chapel for all to hear. Am I struck down? Check. Persecuted? Sure, that too. Afflicted? Yuppers. Perplexed? Yes, more than ever. The thing to remember is that all these things are passing. Furthermore, even though it may seem as though we're destroyed, abandoned, crushed, and full of despair, those things are not reality. As Paul writes near the end of chapter 4, we have an "eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison," that which looks pulls our gazes unto Christ and the hope we have in Him.

But what is that hope? What hope is there in this world, so full of sin and despair, frothing over with pain and suffering? What does one do when one has a grandfather with cancer (who will not be seen before his diagnosed three months are up), a friend who committed suicide, and an eternity's worth of sin and shame that Satan uses to trip up your burdened conscience? What does one do?

Look to the Word.

If there was one book of Scripture that served to lift my weary head this during the long, weary days of this summer past, it was 1 Peter. Living hope...imperishable and undefiled inexpressible...holy as He is holy...redeemed with precious blood...born of seed imperishable. Those words and phrases from the first chapter alone are the words and phrases that have served to lift my head from the deceptive burdens of the world, those burdens that serve only to cause me to forget the living hope that is mine in Christ. Ministry and life are filled with confusion and frustration, fraught with failure and pain, splattered with betrayal and dissention. Yet, through all of this, there is hope. Am I hurting? Yes. Am I confused? Yes. Why would I keep going, if I'm only going to expect more of the same? Because the weight of glory, that which I long for and look forward to, is an eternal weight, whereas the burdens of this world are light and temporary. They do not last! Peter's opening address in 1 Peter picks up on this theme. How so? His epistle is penned to "those who reside as aliens." Aliens do not belong...we do not belong in this world. Where, then, do we belong?

A quick tangent. I find it amusing that somehow, this post somehow circled back to what I'm going to write about in just a little bit. Anyway, back to the post.

A look at Ephesians 5 reminds me of the fact that we the church, as Christ's bride, are betrothed to our Beloved. Do we enjoy the fullness of His presence as we will at the marriage supper of the Lamb and henceforth? No, we do not. Yet, we are set apart as His, and so eagerly await His return to claim that which is His. Thus, we are to endure the trials of this world in the joyous knowledge and hope of seeing Him but dimly no longer, but fully, as with full brightness and glory, unashamedly and free of the light, momentary afflictions we once knew. For when our Lord returns, He will never again allow us a moment away from His presence, for that is where we truly belong. "In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

posted by Bolo | 9:06 PM
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