Life is full of all kinds of challenges. My wife Cindy and I recently moved from the Metro Detroit area of Michigan to Huntington, W.Va , to pastor a church. We heard there was a drug problem in Huntington, but we didn’t realize just how massive the problem was until we were there for a month or so.
There is also another challenge that we are learning to face. This is a first for me to pastor a church. I have had the opportunity to be a youth pastor and an associate pastor in the past, but never the lead pastor. For the last 15 years, I had worked a full-time job and filled in at churches as much as possible. So, being in the church office has been a transition for me as well.
While it is exciting it has its challenges, it certainly does require some things that I at times wonder if I am equipped to handle.
This is much like your life I am sure. While our challenges are different, we all have challenges. Those challenges will continue albeit in different shapes and scales as we each move forward in life. They may be job changes, family dynamic changes or perhaps illness’ that come unexpectantly into our life.
So, hopefully I can help you or encourage you a bit today with some of the things that I have found that have helped me in life and in this transition.
First, it is God who helps me daily. I am so glad that he has and is there with me each day. I know that he has called me and that it is him working in my life. I am amazed regularly how he reveals things to me. Sometimes I say things that amaze me, and I think WOW! God that was good. I had the privilege to grow up in the church, but it is not the church who makes the difference in me, it is God. Hang on to him, seek him and let him work in your life. It is what will make this life worth living. He can and will bring balance to our life in the good times and in the hard times. God is my must.
Second, find others to walk life with you. I know a moment ago I may have given the impression that all we need is God, but that is not the truth. He has designed us to need others in our life. In I Corinthians 12 he says that the body of Christ is made up of many parts. We cannot have a body of Christ without others. Please do not listen to the enemy (Devil) that you can live this life alone. One of his greatest weapons is isolation. He knows that if he can get us to feel inadequate that we will withdraw. Do not run from others, God has placed them in your life for a reason. They need you and you need them. I meet weekly with other pastors to pray together and it has lifted me many times. It helps us stay accountable and it can give us a boost when we need it. Ecclesiastes 4: 12 NIV states, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Third, praise Him, praise Him, and praise Him. When we praise him, it helps us remind our self just how great and powerful he is. Put on some praise and worship music and let your heart and mouth sing his praises. Give him thanks for the things he has brought you through. Praise him for your trials and for your past and future testimonies. Sing, sing, sing. It will lift your spirits.
I often need to remind myself that challenges are necessary in my life, because without them I might not need him or see the importance of him in my life. Challenges and changes create in me a necessity for faith. They stretch me, but they have made me who I am today. He uses these challenges and changes to make me into whom he desires for me to be. When I think of where I have been and where I am going I am amazed and He has and is continuing to do a good thing.
He loves all of us the same and is there for us if we recognize him. If you are reading this and have not accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, can I encourage you to stop for just a moment and bow your head and tell him that you need forgiveness? He will accept you right where you are at and forgive you. Then please find another believer who will be your friend and help you to mature in Christ. We all need someone else to help us along the way.
Look at change and challenges not as a trial, but as an opportunity for God to do more in your life.
Duane Little is the senior pastor at Bethel Temple Assembly of God in Huntington, W.Va. and has known Krista for 35 years. He and his wife Cindy recently celebrated 30 years of marriage, and have two beautiful daughters..