I am seriously concerned for the emotional state of our churches pastors. It is not an exaggeration to say that I don’t know of a single pastor who has not considered quitting over the past 6 months. Ministry can be extremely rewarding. But it is also incredibly draining and painful, at times.
Sometimes God speaks to you through His Word. Sometimes God speaks to you through a friend. Sometimes God speaks to you through a still small voice. And sometimes God just speaks to me in the bathroom through National Geographic.
What do we do when the light goes dark? When happiness turns to despair? Laughter turns to tears? God is silent and absent? We need a way of holding on to God when it seems as though God has let go of us.
For whatever reason, the light that once burned bright has become so dim you can barely see it anymore. You’re stumbling around in the darkness. You’re sleepwalking through life, just going through the motions. Nobody else has even noticed. But you have. You’re dead inside.
Winter happens when the earth tilts away from the sun. The “winter of the soul” happens the same way. Something moves, shifts, or turns, and our heart grows cold and darkness overwhelms our soul.
Perhaps you’ve been tormented by mental illness, or addiction, or fear, or insecurity, or loneliness, or difficult and dysfunctional family members. It’s been a constant thorn in your side. You are continuously reminded of how weak, messed-up, and vulnerable you really are.
I thought I could just power through it. It will pass. I just have to get through this stretch, then things will get better. But it didn’t get better. Each new day I felt like I was sinking deeper and deeper into a dark pit that I couldn’t pull myself out of. I knew I needed to make some significant changes, but I didn’t know how. I felt trapped.
It was like I was cruising down the highway on a beautiful sunny day with the top down – sun on my face, wind in my hair, my beautiful bride at my side… WHAM!! One-hundred-miles-per-hour into a brick wall. One moment I was happily cruising along with a bright future clearly in view and the next I was lying disillusioned and disoriented in the middle of the road with no sign of hope on the horizon.