At some point, it happens to most of us who are involved in ministry. We dig into the work, doing our best to faithfully follow the Lord. Then one day, we look up and find ourselves feeling hopelessly distant from the God that we serve.
For me, it happened around 2009 after fifteen years of full-time ministry and three years of seminary. I was working in Mali, mobilizing and equipping leaders for the Malinke church. Life there presented its challenges like extreme heat, pervasive dust, and the effects of poverty. But, I enjoyed the people and the life that we shared there. I dug into my work: preparing and teaching, traveling with pastors to remote villages and spending time with leaders. I truly desired to do the best that I could, to play my role in building God’s Kingdom. That, combined with the desire to escape the pressures of learning to be a father to two young boys, motivated me to invest long hours.
Somewhere in that mix, I lost connection. I tried to make time to pray and to read the Word. Truthfully through, the lines between teaching prep, maintaining my Greek and truly spending time with God were often blurred. I struggled to maintain spiritual disciplines and when I did, it felt like checking another box on my to do list. I knew something was wrong, but I did not truly grasp what until someone led me in a reflection on Psalm 63:1-5. Not a Bible Study, but a prayerful reflective process helped me get in touch with my deep longings for God.
Psalm 63:1-5 [New International Version (NIV)]
1 You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
The Psalmist’s words hit me like the branch of a sampling. In that passage, I saw myself and heard my soul crying out like David’s. Amazingly, as I became aware of the cry of my heart, I also became aware of God responding to me through His Word. As I slowed down to listen for God’s voice in the pages of the Bible, He gave me grace to hear and to respond to what He was saying. That process set me back on a journey that has led to greater intimacy with Christ and to the incredible personal transformation that only God can bring as we sit at His feet.
I look forward to sharing more of this incredible journey along with some of the useful tools that I have picked up along the way. If you identify with my story or simply have questions about your own faith journey, feel free to contact me through this website.
Until then, may the grace of God draw you near. May His loving presence give you comfort and courage.