Physical pain is something I run from. I have a low tolerance for pain and often look for ways to quickly alleviate it. Whatever it takes!
In Ephesians chapter 4, the Apostle Paul talks speaks of prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers and evangelists equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. The word equipping is often understood as teaching or instructing. In addition to this meaning, equipping means to restore or mend as if setting a broken bone back into place. That sounds hopeful yet painful!
Sometimes restoration does not feel like things are being restored. Sometimes it feels like things are getting worse. Sometimes the things God needs to restore are deep and he needs to go deeper. When he does so, it hurts. Sometimes He needs to make adjustments, set things straight and re-align. That is painful. Sometimes he makes us wait. There seems to be no progress in the waiting yet it is all part of healing.
As I consider these realities of restoration, how God often works this influences how the way I pastor and equip. As I seek to mend, restore, am I relying on the Spirit to lead me or am I relying on my gifts and wisdom alone? Am I focused on taking away the pain, no matter what, or am I waiting on the Lord to restore, heal and lead?
As a pastor I am called to equip through mending and restoring as well as teaching and instructing. I am also called to do this in great dependence and by the leading of the Spirit.
What are the gifts you have been called to use? How do you use them in dependence on God and his lead rather than your own? What do your prayers sound like as you lean on God?