My Dear Shepherds,
Six or seven years into pastoral life I became deeply fatalistic about my future. I saw other pastors, some dear to me, fail and were forced to leave the ministry. I was frightened. I thought, I’m no better than they are. If it happened to them, it will happen to me. It’s just a matter of time.
I thought often of Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg when 15,000 Confederate troops marched into the entrenched guns of the Union Army and were decimated, suffering 6,000 casualties! Some went down early while others almost took the hill, but in the end they all fell or retreated. I pictured ministry—my ministry—as that ill-fated.
Then, in the great mercy of God, I found Jude 24, “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy ….” I threw my arms around that promise like a drowning man seizing a life preserver.
Now, decades later, and recently ...