By Mark Canady, District Representative, Western District
As a Village Missionary pastor, we endured an especially tough season at our church. In over 35 years of ministry, I can’t remember having more people in the hospital at one time, some with very serious illnesses. I have always felt that visiting and ministering to the sick and hurting affords a great honor. But I also know caring for folks in times of crisis can be incredibly draining.
What a Pastor Experiences: Confusion…and More
Because we lived near a metropolitan area, I found myself in multiple hospitals regularly. One day I was at my third hospital for another visit when the elevator reached the ground floor, and I could not remember where I was!
I knew that I was in an elevator at a hospital, and that I had arrived back on the ground floor. But as I came out of the elevator, I just stood there for a few minutes, unable to remember which hospital I was at. Therefore, I could not recall where my car was parked. It took me a while to mentally walk through my day and remember where I had been and where I was.
Serving A God With No Limits
Reflecting on that time, I know that I struggled with weariness and grief. I had said my earthly goodbyes to some dear friends. In addition, I had watched, cared for, prayed with, and wept with some folks going through very difficult times. I was fully aware of my limitations that day.
And yet, I was extremely thankful that I served a God with no limits.
Isaiah records this thought very well: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The only Eternal God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth NEVER becomes weary or tired. There is no limit to His understanding.”
What a precious truth to remember! But, this passage contains still more, more truth to glean as Isaiah continues, “He gives strength to the weary, and to the one who lacks strength He increases power. Even a young person will grow weary and tired, and at times the very strongest young men wearily stumble, YET those who wait for the Lord will have their strength renewed; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Portions from Isaiah 40:28-31 paraphrased)
What a Pastor Experiences: Comfort, Care, & Worship
After I spent some time talking with the Only Eternal God, He indeed renewed my strength and allowed me to minister to my dear friends. And in the weeks to follow we worshiped together, some at the graveside of loved ones now with the Lord and others as they rejoined the church family in corporate worship of the King and kings.
This may help sum up parts of the ministry of a Village Missionary pastor: it can involve times of confusion, comfort, care and worship. Yes, pastoral care is an act of Worship.