Delivered

Once again, it is the day.  The anniversary of when I was ready to end my life in the pit of despair and depression.  Last year I wrote about it HERE.  You can follow the links there if you’re interested.

Somehow this day has kind of become a day of self-evaulation for me.  I suppose that makes sense, it being Good Friday and all.  It is sort of a “take stock” day for me, as I reflect on God’s richest mercies in giving His Son and in giving me life.

Things are pretty dramatically different today than they were a year ago.  We now live in California.  I am the senior pastor at a small to mid sized confessional congregation near Sacramento.  There are lots of great people here, who love me and my family.  It is a great blessing, to be sure.

But it is also really strange.  I still feel like they don’t know my story, our history, and our life.  I don’t like talking about myself (ok, not that much), but I do occasionally want to stand up in bible class and say something like,

“Are you people crazy!  I am wounded and broken.  I’m a mess, barely hanging on by a thread.  Why would you want us here?  Surely you could find someone cheaper that isn’t always on the edge?”

Then I remember people like Paul, or Elijah, or Augustine, or Luther, or Herberger, Gergardt, and the many thousands of shepherds God has provided His sheep with over the millennia.  If there is one thing that this history should teach, it is that the Ministry is about God’s service to us in His Son, not about the man.  They are a strange and messed up lot.  In that regard I guess I fit right in.

All things are new, yet all things are the same.  Wounded and broken, but healed by the blood of Christ, we go on despite what our heart and mind might say to us (Psalm 73:26).

We rest in Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith.  So, friends, do not despair.  Christ cares for you with an everlasting love.  From Bach’s St. John’s Passion:

Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine,
Rest in peace, you sacred limbs,
Die ich nun weiter nicht beweine,
I shall weep for you no more,
Ruht wohl und bringt auch mich zur Ruh!
rest in peace, and bring me also to rest.
Das Grab, so euch bestimmet ist
The grave that is allotted to you
Und ferner keine Not umschließt,
and contains no further suffering,
Macht mir den Himmel auf und schließt die Hölle zu.
opens heaven for me and shuts off hell.

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5 thoughts on “Delivered”

  1. Wounded, broken and a mess–One who understands the need for, and the gift of Christ’s infinite, makes-no-sense kind of mercy. A shepherd who “gets” suffering. A shepherd who understands that suffering renders us helpless and shows us our absolute dependence on Christ and His mercy. Truth be told, we are all living on the edge. Some of us are just more honest about it.
    So, my dear friend and pastor, rest in the peace of Christ this Holy Saturday. Prayers ascend for you and your family.

  2. Dearest Pastor,
    Forgive Us! We quickly forget those we love and assume too much. I for one assume that you are over it. What a mistake to think you can easily forget such an event – suicide is no small thing.

    But please remember: Pray lots. We will be praying for you…And God is no fool. He knows we are broken.

    And remember even more: He uses His imperfect saints to do His perfect work. When we come to Him with our “mud pies”, and we say, “I made this just for you, Father.” He stoops to look, then tastes, and then He pronounces, “Keep making mud pies, my Son. They taste wonderful!”

  3. >>“Are you people crazy! I am wounded and broken. I’m a mess, barely hanging on by a thread. Why would you want us here? Surely you could find someone cheaper that isn’t always on the edge?”<< That's why I don't go to my pastors any more when things are rough-I know that they are hurting as well, both with the stresses of the ministry as well as those in their own lives.

    I do everything I can to serve them in the ways I've been called to within my congregation, but I do everything I can to not ask for anything that is not absolutely necessary from them, other than a quick question or request for direction on a task.

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