I have found great help from two truths God gave me at a time in my life and ministry when I was bombarded with a series of unexpected and unfair blows (from my perspective). In my darkest hours, these principles became my anchor of stability, my only means of survival. Afflicted, confused, persecuted, and rejected in that situation, I claimed these two truths and held on to them. As wild waves, strong winds, and pounding rain in a sea of difficulty continued, I grabbed hold of the mast of God’s protective power. He took me through the storm of consequences and kept me from becoming a bitter man.
I have a couple of principles worth remembering. Because they worked for me as a pastor, I pass them on to you. At the risk of sounding simplistic, I would suggest that you not only write them down where you can read them often, but also that you commit them to memory. The day will come when you will be thankful you did, I assure you. They have scriptural support, but I’ll only list a couple of verses for the sake of brevity and clarity.
Here is the first truth to claim when enduring the consequences of suffering as a pastor: nothing touches me that has not passed through the hands of my heavenly Father. Nothing. Whatever occurs, God has sovereignly surveyed and approved (Job 2:3–6). We may not know why (we may never know why), but we do know our pain is no accident to Him who guides our lives. He is, in no way, surprised by it all. Before it ever touches us, it passes through Him.
The second truth to claim is this: everything I endure is designed to prepare me for serving others more effectively. Everything. Because my heavenly Father is committed to shaping me into the image of His Son, He knows the ultimate value of this painful experience (2 Corinthians 1:3–7). It is a necessary part of the preparation process. It is being used to empty our hands of our own resources, our own sufficiency, and turn us back to Him—the faithful Provider.
And God alone knows what will get through to us.