That Pastor is a man!
Key Passage: 2 Corinthians 4: 7-18
Key Text: 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
What is wrong with human beings that we always want to attribute the divine to flesh? Why are we so quick to give our minds a holiday and not think deeply about some issues? Because God called a man, do they stop being human? Because they walk with the divine, does that make them divine? Or worse, because they walk with God does that make them God? I am actually rather shocked at the carelessness of a lot of people, when it comes to how they view the so-called man of God.
Don’t misunderstand me. I was once like this. I thought my Pastor was divine. He could do no wrong. He felt no pain. He was so anointed; his entire being was so full of God, that nothing touched him. I even used to think my Pastor was omniscient. That he simply knew everything and as such was in control of all situations. I used to see my Pastor as Mr Perfect. He really could do no wrong and definitely no wrong could touch him. But I soon learnt the error of my ways and thoughts and I became a really deeply committed intercessor for my Pastor. I developed compassion and understanding and I stopped placing lot of unhealthy expectations on him as a man. This did not reduce my respect for him; it made me respect him more. I saw his struggles and this authenticated him, rather than erode his influence with me. My Pastor always said, ‘never trust a man of God who does not walk with a limp’, referring to Jacob’s brokenness before God.
So recently, I suffered a very major bereavement. My eldest son, Olaoluwa died suddenly in Kent, England. Olaolu had for 20 years struggled with an intractable illness, which we prayed for incessantly and believed he would be healed. I really never once entertained the thought of him dying. I was so convinced God would heal him. I had many visions and dreams of Olaolu fully restored. Others also had similar visions and dreams. So you can imagine my utter shock and consternation when I was told he died. I was on my own when the news came via skype. I did not know whether to scream, shout, faint, and or collapse. But I looked up and said God, what happened here? Why? You did not warn me? You did not show me? This is not the deal we had! What? Why? How?
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.”
God immediately answered me and for this I will be forever grateful. He told me three things right there and then. 1. Your son is now with me and he is perfect now. 2. If you are feeling bad, know it is your human emotions, nothing to do with your son, he is well and at his happiest now. You will need to be strong for your family 3. There is an issue of justice relating to his death I want you to act upon. Sounds rather clinical, but honestly, it was what I needed. I immediately received strength and found the hope to move forward; not knowing what the next year would feel like.
I was on the next flight out of Lagos to London and God provided a young man who sat next to me. He was very friendly and he talked most of the flight. Just what I needed to take my mind off my predicament. I really thank God for Gbolahan. He was an angel.
We went through the funeral etc and immediately went to the US to be with our younger son. Then we returned to Lagos, Nigeria. It was one year in October and only God knows how we have coped. I have sometimes cried so hard at my desk, just feeling the loss, but sometimes, I find myself thankful to God for his life. Truth is there have been many more good days than bad. The Lord has really helped us and I have known God’s under-girding hands in these season. God has simply held us up!
Coming up to the one year we had to go back to the UK to oversee some of his arrangements and attend an inquest. I dreaded revisiting the cemetery. I really did not know how I would cope. I dreaded the inquest. Reliving his last moments etc. But God took control and helped us. Helped me. I was able to go through without much pain. But I can tell you, it was not easy. I have known pain, but not like this. This is way too deep. But God soothes it all away!
Honestly, I see people reacting to us in different ways. Some people seem quite oblivious of what we have been through. They are more concerned about their own immediate pain and circumstances and they expect us as the Pastors to jump and be in attendance and ready to minister to them. We try to oblige them as best as we can, always looking to God for grace. Some treat us as if we feel no pain and so we can just get up and go. I hear all kinds of insinuations to move forward. Really! Is it that simple? Some look at us, and you can read their thoughts clearly. What did you do wrong? What sin did you commit to bring this upon yourselves? If God were with you why would you go through this? Or like some say, it is better that this happens to Pastors, because how can the ordinary man cope? What can we say to these things? Perhaps we would have the same thoughts and be somewhat insensitive, except we know better now. Stephen was stoned to death. Job lost everything, children and properties in one day. Herod beheaded James. We have seen bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Life is not that simplistic.
I am not looking for sympathy. I only want understanding. People, need to recognise that Pastors feel pain. They bleed. They cry. They get disappointed. They fear. They can be insecure. They get depressed. They tire and burn out. They are not immune from human weakness. They are not God. They are not divine. They may be anointed and called, but they are still men. Human. Full of frailties and foibles. Truth is God does not use the strong, but mostly the weak.
So please spare your Pastor a thought this Christmas. Think of their humanity and pray for him or her. They may be in more pain than you realise.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
To my Pastor, I love you and respect you. I understand you more now and I pray that God will continue to strengthen you and bless you and your family. You have been a good example of stoicism and strength, but I recognise your pain too. I recognise your disappointments and I recognise your humanity amidst all the divine things you do. God bless you Pastor.
Remember that Pastor is a man!
Let us Pray: Firstly Father, I pray that none of my readers will ever go through what we have had to go through this season. I know you are a kind and loving God and you never tempt any man with evil. I also know that there are many people, families who are in the throes of mourning and have suffered bereavement. Father, I am asking that you would comfort them and lighten their burden just like you have helped us. Father, I want to pray for every Pastor, Church leader or minister that may be misunderstood and burdened with the unreasonable weight of expectations from people. Father, please lighten their load. Finally I pray that you would shield all men and women of God from evil and keep us all safe to continue to serve you with joy and faith. Thank you for answering my prayers today, in Jesus name. Amen