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Pastors in Pain, Christ Can Redeem Your Suffering

After many difficult years in ministry, I lost the strength to pastor. But Christ met me in weakness.
Pastors in Pain, Christ Can Redeem Your Suffering
Image: Illustration by Mallory Rentsch / Source Images: Cary Bates / Unsplash / Runstudio / Getty

Walking toward our church building one morning last year, I felt an emotional decoupling from the church. A void of affection and desire. The thought of walking into my church was now harrowing. The spiritual weight of souls was something I could no longer carry. The elders mourned with me, prayed for me, and gave me two months off.

The accumulated pain from the past two years had caught up with me: congregational loss, apostasy, ghosting, harsh criticism, and much more. Many of us in ministry have faced similar wounds. How do we address our pain while pastoring?

While it can be tempting to tuck away our hurt, Paul sets an example by bringing his pain out into the open. Some abandon the faith for the love of the word: “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me” (2 Tim 4:10). I can’t think of a more disheartening sorrow. Some attack us: “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm” (4:14). That hurt was deep. Others, after years of friendship, ...

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