Saturday, 11 February 2012

When ministry is rocky and stormy

Psalm 37
Do not fret
But I do fret Lord
I spend too much time and energy fretting
and allowing difficult people to turn into giants
and fill my view
till I can hardly see you.

because of those who are evil 
or be envious of those who do wrong; 
for like the grass they will soon wither, 
like green plants they will soon die away. 

Help me to get them in proportion
with your greatness Lord and your constancy.

Trust in the LORD 

So simple. So obvious.
So why so hard?
The opposite of fretting.
Why – oh why – don’t I do it more?
And how?

Frustrated with my feeble faith.

and do good; 

My call.
Whatever situation
What does it mean to do good here?
Sounds delightfully uncomplicated.

dwell in the land

But so often I want to flee.
And this seems to be at the heart of rural ministry.
Struggling – and feeling I am failing.
In this place which most people think is paradise.
Fearful... fretting.... flight.
Answer? Trust in the Lord. I tell myself.

and enjoy safe pasture. 

And this is the rub
I don’t feel safe
most of the time.
Such pressure.
Such expectation.
Impossible expectations – for one human being.
And so exposed.
So exposed.

And so surprised at this
 As an extravert – open – beyond my own good...
Who loves the countryside (though this is really something else...)
And being part of a community (though this is such an alien community)
(What would it be like to live here and not be the vicar?)

And it’s such a small world.
Their world.
Most of them know no other.
And want to know no other.

Hard to just dwell here
when you’ve spent the last few years being expanded...

Do I have to shrink again?

Take delight in the LORD,
Fill my view again Lord.
How has this happened?
And satisfy me...

and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Really? Dare I hope to be happy?
Dare I even venture into the arena of my desires?
 For family... and friends... and fun... and creativity...and

Commit your way to the LORD; 
trust in him and he will do this: 
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, 
your vindication like the noonday sun. 
Be still before the LORD 
and wait patiently for him;

Home territory – but hard here
Never felt so pressured to be active
To have to explain (feeling I am making excuses for my weakness)
My need for prayer and stillness.

And why do I feel I have to explain anyway???

do not fret
There it is again.

when people succeed in their ways, 
when they carry out their wicked schemes. 
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; 
There’s been some anger.
Not sure with what or who...
All over the place, I suppose...

do not fret 
There it is again.

it leads only to evil.
Ok. So how?

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