“Joe, I might be late for the pastors meeting Wednesday morning,” the e-mail note said. The writer, one of our displaced pastors, explained about his wife’s surgery and the death in his family. His job is in jeopardy and he still doesn’t have direction on what to do with his flooded church, which has been gutted by teams of volunteers and needs to be restored internally, but what’s the point if no one lives in the neighborhood.
Now–not knowing any more about him than this–would you say there’s a brother who needs your prayers?
Last August, one of our pastors evacuated the area ahead of the storm and found shelter in his home state, only to see both his daughters in car accidents and his father come down with a serious disease and die a few weeks later. Internal stresses with his congregation led him to resign and take a temporary position in another church.
One pastor who lost both his home and his church had a stroke and while he was in the hospital recovering, his mother died.
Want me to go on? I could. I can tell you of another dozen New Orleans ministers who have come through the storm and its devastation only to turn around and find more trials coming, one after another, each one worst than the one before.
We keep asking for prayer for our ministers down here. Only the Lord knows what pressures each one is enduring and only He has the resources and strength to get us through this.
I’ve been camping out in Psalm 84 lately. I was first attracted to that short passage several years ago when a college-ministry committee I was chairing met in a classroom at the old First Baptist Church of New Orleans on St. Charles Avenue. Someone had gone to the trouble of cutting out large letters and stringing on the walls around the room verse 11 of that psalm: “The Lord God is a Sun and a Shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” I sat there transfixed, drinking that in, thinking, “What a great verse. What a wonderful praise, what an incredible promise.”