Some Confessions from Lessons Learned in the Crucible of Suffering
A couple of sobering entries in a blog post by Matt Chandler on what the Lord has been teaching him this past year:
If it’s not by grace alone, I’m in a lot of trouble.
Jonathan Edwards was right to resolve, “to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.” The thought of dying, though repulsive to most of us, brings an uncanny clarity to life. I was told in mid-December that what I had was fatal and that the average lifespan was 2-3 years after diagnosis. So I have at max, 2 years left (I want to quote Twain here on statistics but don’t want to answer the e-mails and complaints in the comment section I would get). When you hear that kind of news, you do some real soul searching and here is something disturbing I found out about me. I don’t trust all my motivations in ministry. Now don’t get me wrong. I deeply, deeply love the God of the Bible. I love to proclaim Him and think about Him and talk about Him to anyone who’ll listen, but I learned in college that when I do that, good things happen and by good things I mean good things for me. People want to hear me teach; they pay me money. I’m actually “famous” in some circles. What a dangerous culture we live in. In some places being used powerfully by God can get you killed and here it makes you “famous.” Hear me confess this. I like it. I like that people download me, watch videos of me, want my take on things and I believe that there is a part of me (that’s hopefully dying) that likes it not just because it makes much of Jesus but makes much of me. That is an embarrassing truth about me, and I have fasted and prayed that God would put it to death. So to quote Lecrae “If Heaven ain’t a gift then I ain’t getting in.”
I suck at praying.
I didn’t think I did before this. I thought it was a strength, but I was wrong. When you realize that all you are is His, you realize or at least I did, that I don’t stay connected to Him as I have been commanded to. I would spend some time praying in the morning, but my life wasn’t saturated in it. I lived like I put my time in and now I can handle this. So again, I confess that I went into hundreds of meetings over my first seven years as pastor of The Village without asking for direction and wisdom, without asking for power and clarity. Although I knew I wasn’t wise enough, experienced enough or seasoned enough, I went and tried to be what they needed. I have grown exponentially in this area this year and I’m hoping that when I’m done with my race, I would be known not just as a faithful preacher of God’s Word but a man who communed with his Father without ceasing.