People usually see a professional counselor for psychological relief. People often go to a pastor for spiritual relief. This puts the pastoral counselor in not only a healing role but also a discipling role.
My wife's father and mother used to attend our church. One Sunday night, as she had done many times before, my mother-in-law played piano in the service. Two days later she collapsed and was taken to the hospital, where the doctors determined she had a brain aneurysm. On Friday she died.
Although grieving with my family and congregation, I decided to preach on Sunday. My sermon, from the Book of Joshua, discussed the sovereignty of God. I related the message to her death and spoke openly about my own feelings.
Later in the foyer, I overheard a woman from the church say, "Well at least now Pastor Gulbranson knows a little about the pain some of us have gone through." At the moment I thought it was a cruel statement.
Later I thought about her comment. It was, in fact, a ...1