I’ve enjoyed connecting with several of our church planters over the past couple of weeks. We gathered 18 of our leaders in Midland, TX for the ThinkNEXT retreat. I managed to have some face time with all of our guys in Arkansas and Oklahoma over the past week. The conversations reminded me that these families are under stress and facing big challenges!!
Now I would note that none of my guys whined or complained… but their stories brought back memories of my own fears while Barb and I were starting churches in Chicago. So while none of the guys whined – be assured that I have been whining on their behalf ever since I connected with them. And I’m whining upwards – to God – on their behalf.
Psalm 121 came to mind early the other morning as I thought of (whined about…) these couples:
I lift my eyes up to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
The psalm directs us to the LORD – the Creator… and we’re told that our feet will not slip – he won’t fall asleep on the job – he’ll watch over and protect us – and that we’ll be kept from all harm.
That’s a heavy duty set of promises for us to consider. But we need to set those promises in context. A prayer/psalm like Psalm 121 was written for one simple reason – God’s people were feeling literally threatened when it was penned. As I prayed my way through the psalm I thought of the words of Derek Kidner, who noted that…
We are not promised a well-cushioned life – but we are promised a well-armed life!
Consider these passages about life’s troubles and our responses:
- Luke 21:17ff Jesus tells us that we will be hated – but that not a hair of our head will perish…
- Philippians 4:6-7 we’re to be anxious about nothing, but to bring our very real concerns to God and expect to find “the peace of God” in spite of our concerns
- 2 Timothy 4:18 the Lord promises to rescue us from within every evil attack that comes our way… not from being attacked, but from the attack as it occurs
- 1 Peter 4:19 those who suffer should commit themselves to their faithful Creator
- Ephesians 6:10ff we’ve got a full set of armor with which to resist the devil and his schemes… so put on the armor and get ready!
I shot a note out to the church planters about this – and got this back from one of our guys in Arkansas:
“Thanks Phil! If you keep whining for me maybe I can hold out…”
I invite you to look over our list of church-planting projects and their leaders – and keep whining on their behalf before the Lord. I’m pretty certain that with God’s grace they’ll continue to hold out – and prevail!