Season of Suck
Yesterday, I had the privilege of offering a few devotional thoughts to a few other pastors. For many pastors, election season is brutal. Then on its heels is Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas. In so many ways, it is the Season of Suck.
What do elections, Thanksgiving, and Christmas have in common? They peel back the hurt in people's lives.
When people are hurting they often turn to their pastor for guidance or to project the emotions they have that they can't share with the person that they really need to talk to.
So, all in all, it is a hard season for people and pastors can find themselves feeling a bit exhausted and at the end of their rope. Some of this is from entering in with folks. Some of it is because pastors are people too. They experience the same struggles during this season as everyone else, but sadly they do so often in isolation.
As I was considering what to say to these colleagues I came back to something that Paul of Tarsus wrote a couple thousand years ago that has shaped me to my core.
"I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it." (Philippians 3:10-11, The Message)
Paul says that all the stuff that made him appear successful, he gave up. He got rid of it. Why? Because all that mattered, ultimately, was to know Christ and to get in on the resurrection.
I shared with these pastors, that for us this is the calling. We get to pursue Christ and his resurrection all the time. Our vocation is to live into this and to model it for those we serve.
Gain It All...
What a privilege it is to be a pastor! What a privilege to be able to fully and totally give our lives to this thing of ultimate importance. We get to live out Philippians 3:10-11 in all its fullness. There is nothing that has to compete with this.
As we walk through the Season of Suck, our first responsibility is to know Christ and his resurrection.
Read that again.
This is our high calling. This is our privileged calling. This is our joyful calling.
The hard stuff is part of following this Christ and knowing Christ in fullness. The Christ-way is not easy. The Christ-way includes suffering. But, the suffering leads toward knowing the resurrection.
Even in the Season of Suck we can choose to identify with Christ and his resurrection.
This encourages me. I hope maybe you too can find some encouragement in it.