Most of you probably say, “Come on guys. We are not just believers, saved by God’s grace. We are pastors–and Renegade Pastors at that! We definitely know how to worship God.” You may think you don’t need this reminder.
But one reason we all need a reminder from time to time is that it’s in the middle of trouble when we need to be the most thankful. It’s at that very moment that we need to remember how good God is. It’s at that moment that we need to keep our thoughts centered on how powerful He is. It’s then we need to remember that He is always working on our behalf, to do something for our good and for His glory.
But it is also at those times, we are battered, beat up, and discouraged, that we often feel least like praising God. Remember, we are both pastors. We know exactly what it is like down in the trenches, fighting every day to lead the people of God. We know that when you’re feeling weak and overwhelmed, drowning in stress, you may not feel like lifting your voice in praise. But we can tell you from experience–this is the very time you need to praise God!
So we are going to give you some gentle reminders about coming to God in praise for His provision, even in the middle of your stress. We hope you will find these keys encouraging:
- God is pleased with the praise you bring Him, no matter the shape you’re in. You may be beaten to a pulp. You may not feel much like a Christian, let alone a pastor. But God knows what shape you’re in — and He wants to hear from you. He doesn’t expect us to be at our best. In fact, we believe God is most glorified when we come to Him in our weakness. As the old saying goes, “When God is all we have, we find out He is all we need.”
The key here is to make praise a regular part of your life, not something you reserve for when you feel like doing it. The more stress you feel, the less you will feel like praising God. So praise Him even when praise doesn’t come easy.
- Remember that it’s okay to be angry with God–and to express that anger. As you no doubt know, the Psalms are the songbook of the Hebrew people. As you read, you’ll notice every conceivable emotion is described in these songs: joy, peace, frustration, anger. And God isn’t angry with the psalmist when he expressed his frustration or even his anger! God knows that those emotions are part of the human condition.
Be honest with God; if you are angry, tell Him. He knows it anyway. And once you have expressed your frustrations, you will be in a better place to worship Him for His goodness. Honesty with God is a great way to make sure that you don’t get bitter and cynical about ministry.
- Praise God for His work, even when you can’t see what He is doing. We often don’t see what God is up to until after the storm has passed. The only thing we can rest on in those instances is the assurance that God is working out all things for our good because we love Him (Rom. 8:28). Well, that is enough reason to praise Him. Let Him know you trust Him to work. Let Him know you are resting on His goodness and love to bring you through.
God is good all the time. He is powerful all the time. When you decide to praise Him even when you can’t see Him at work, you are acknowledging that you recognize and love Him for who He is.
Use these reminders to help you get started praising God in the middle of your stress. You are going to find that when praise is part of your life, the stresses become far more manageable. You remember that you have a big God who is always at work in your life. He will give you the insight and wisdom you need to find a way through the stress. Or, He will give you the strength to handle it for as long as it lasts.
– Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman
The above excerpt is from p. 86-87 of The Renegade Pastor’s Guide to Managing the Stress of Ministry.
Pastors Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman share their secrets to effective stress management with practical steps and insights that you can start implementing immediately! God wants you to be a fruitful, faithful minister of the gospel. He wants you, as a Renegade Pastor, to rise above average as you pursue God’s best for you, your family, and your ministry.
Your partner in ministry,
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