As pastors, it is satisfying to know that we can make a lasting contribution and assist others in their need. Being in the swirl of activity, resourceful and responsive, we tend to think it’ll never end.
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But it does. Sometimes ever so slowly through a chain of events or sometimes abruptly without warning, we find ourselves sidelined and no longer in demand.
A tiny blood clot in the brain can seize our usefulness and leave us in its devastating grip. Another factor is age . . . merely growing older can move us away from today’s main thoroughfares.
By being passed over for a promotion or by being benched because a stronger associate joins the team, we start feeling overlooked. It hurts.
While reading Psalm 5, I see that David is just plain discouraged. He prays to the Lord, “pay attention to my groaning” (Psalm 5:1 NLT). Unless I miss my guess, he sang these lyrics while hearing dissonance in his mind.
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So many pastors I meet play out their entire lives in the dissonance of discouragement. There is the grinding dismay that follows unachieved goals or failed relationships.
Some are discouraged over their marriages which began with such promise but now seem weak, borderline hopeless.
Lingering ill-health can discourage and demoralize its victims, especially when the pain won’t go away. And who can’t identify with those ministers who gave it their best shot yet took it on the chin from a few self-appointed critics?