Dr. William Child served as surgeon of a New Hampshire infantry regiment in the Civil War. He took the field in August, 1862. While anticipating a great adventure he soon found the drudgery of service. He later wrote that the romance lasted about two minutes. Civil War Times, May, 1966, 37, 42
Serving/Obeying/Persevering in discipleship is like that. Actually participating with Jesus in everyday life is often stimulating, but it’s more often time-consuming, exhausting and intimidating. Visiting people, counseling them through their hurts, fears, sins and illnesses draws down one’s own faith. Anyone so involved must remain close to Jesus and seek his restorative grace.
The aftermath of personal problems, struggles and sicknesses are also like the aftermath of battle, as Dr. Child discovered after many conflicts, using Antietam as an example. The days after the shooting tested every skill the doctors possessed: the broken limbs, the surgeries that maimed, the mortality rates that soared, the shredded hopes of young men disfigured for life.
One’s ministry sometimes brings fortuitous events of lasting delight. As unfortunate events bring challenging consequences. People can recover from illness or disease but be vulnerable for weeks afterwards. Death is suddenly final for a loved one, but the grief following in survivors hangs like a dark cloud for months. Pastoral work begins after the crisis has been solved, is past or finalized. That’s when people are most vulnerable. That’s when they need the feather touch of concern, the soft words of comfort, the prayers seeking God’s mercy. All these give the afflicted the extended care needed until the pain passes and the wounds heal.
It’s all very exciting, being with people. But it’s also a duty whose romance fades after a couple of experiences. What a Mighty Man Jesus Christ proved to be, adding a powerful Pastoral Ministry to his equally Powerful preaching.
Books at: www.createspace.com. (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.)
Apologetics book: Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1
Books also at www.amazon.com (Virgil Hurley)