The past couple of weeks have been some of the toughest of my life. My emotions have spanned the spectrum: shock, sorrow, horror, intense anger, disillusionment, disappointment, and utter bewilderment.
The past couple of weeks have been some of the toughest of my life. My emotions have spanned the spectrum: shock, sorrow, horror, intense anger, disillusionment, disappointment, and utter bewilderment. I have prayed—without much benefit. I have read the Scriptures from the Psalms and Proverbs to the words of Jesus and various sections of the letters from Paul, Peter, James—without much peace.
I feel like Job, who admitted, "If I speak, my pain is not lessened, And if I hold back, what has left me? . . . He has exhausted me . . . . My spirit is broken" (Job 16:6-7; 17:1).
It occurred to me around 4:20 this morning that perhaps the late, great Spurgeon might have understood my grief better than any other when he wrote over a century ago in his Lectures to My Students, in a chapter entitled "The Minister's Fainting Fits":
Who can bear the weight of souls without sometimes sinking to the dust? . . . To see the hopeful turn aside, the godly grow cold, professors [and pastors] abusing their privileges, and sinners waxing more bold in sin—are not these sights enough to crush us to the earth? . . .
The lesson of wisdom is, be not dismayed by soul-trouble. Count it no strange thing, but a part of ordinary ministerial experience . . . . Live by the day, by the hour . . . . Be not surprised when men fail you; it is a failing world . . . . Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are.
No longer should we be saying that "perilous times will come." They have arrived, fellow pilgrim; they are now. And we must face them head-on, doing whatever is necessary to stand firm.
As Carl Henry wrote so eloquently in Twilight of a Great Civilization:
We may even now live in the half generation before all hell breaks loose, and if its fury is contained we will be remembered, if we are remembered at all, as those who used their hands and hearts and minds and very bodies to plug the dikes against impending doom.
The secret of standing in treacherous times is being willing to "take heed" lest we also fall.