shepherding the shepherd
There are times when we wonder if we’ve somehow lost our herald’s credentials or if everyone would be better off if we moved on. Perhaps you’ve been beaten or shipwrecked once too often. Some pastors lose their lifeline to Scripture and the Spirit till they sound like the unintelligible teacher in A Charlie Brown Christmas: “Wa-wa-wawa-wa .”
All believers face painful tests of faith, but I think the fiery darts absorbed by pastors are often poison-tipped. The enemy targets us, eager to wound us to the soul. What’s more, our people are watching, even when they don’t know specifically what we’re facing. We must be their examples. We’ve all felt “weakness and fear, with much trembling.”
I imagine John deep in prayer when a voice like a bugle broke into his reverie, commanding him to write what he was about to see and to dispatch it to the seven churches, our congregations’ spiritual forebears. When John turned “to see the voice” he saw “one like a son of man,” among the lampstands—Jesus Christ among his churches “depicted as shining lights for God in the midst of a hostile world,” as Grant Osborne put it.
It has been our privilege to show raggedy, stained sinners the path we ourselves followed to the laundry of the Lord. Through friendships, counsel, and preaching we offered them the bleach of the Lamb’s blood. We waited while they changed and saw them come out whiter than snow, dressed in the unblemished righteousness of Christ.