It is to this hope I seek to point God’s people. No, it doesn’t take away the pain usually. However, It is not a trite answer that does nothing. It is, in fact, the hope of every Christian: to see Christ, to be with Christ, and to be made like him in every respect (1 John 3:2)… So that is how I minister though I, too, suffer. I minister by pointing them to the exalted Minister who knows my agony yet conquered the reason of my anguish.
(William Hill – The Aquila Report) When I was halfway through seminary, I was diagnosed with a neurological issue that affects my spinal cord. It was a long, drawn-out situation that left many doctors confused and unable to offer much help. The illness results in numerous problems: numbness in my limbs, pain shooting through my head and back, disorientation and dizziness and the constant feeling that I am going to collapse. It is a frustrating issue. In God’s providence, I managed to get through seminary though I struggled immensely for over two and a half years. I still struggle today, and my circumstances have escalated.
That’s the background. In the foreground is the subject of the pastoral ministry. You see, the Lord called me to pastor God’s people. I often wonder how I can be of much use while I am struggling to maintain a certain level of sanity in my own life. It dawned on me that due to my struggles, I am better equipped to minister to those who also struggle.
This observation is not without biblical precedent, of course. In the Lord’s wisdom, He called me to pastor a church that finds many in the congregation struggling with significant chronic illness and pain. As a result, I am called upon to encourage them, strengthen them and pray with and for them as they hurt. It breaks my heart to see these dear people suffer.