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When the Preacher's Faith Wavers
Some thoughts from Psalm 73.
Sometimes preachers struggle with whether or not we are making a difference in this world or even in the local church where we serve.
I think it’s a fairly common occurrence for us to at least think on occasion, “Am I wasting my time? Should I do something else with my life?”
When we face these struggles as gospel preachers, I’m reminded of another “preacher” who faced similar struggles. Asaph was the inspired penman of Psalm 73, and he shared what he felt in his struggle with his faith.
What he felt encourages us as preachers. As you will see, he came out on the other side of his struggles with renewed faith and trust in God.
The Prosperity of the Wicked Shook My Faith (Psalm 73:1-12).
Asaph said his “steps had nearly slipped” (Psalm 73:2) when he considered the prosperity and apparent “carefree” life of the wicked. They weren’t simply secretly prideful and wicked, but they wore it proudly and flaunted their wickedness before everyone.
Everything in life seemed to go their way even though they mocked and blasphemed God (Psalm 73:9-11).
Sometimes this life is a struggle for us as preachers - the brethren mistreat us, the world mocks us, there are more bills in the mailbox than money coming in, and even our family may grow tired of our work.
We are simply trying to serve God by proclaiming His word (2 Timothy 4:2), and it seems like our lives have become harder while everyone else is prospering and living an easier life.
Sometimes it’s enough to discourage any preacher.
Am I Wasting My Life? (Psalm 73:13-15).
Asaph considered the life of purity he had tried to live and thought, “Is it all in vain?” (Psalm 73:13). It only led to him facing troubles and feeling like he was being punished.
When it seems like the life of the world around us is going smoothly, and we are the ones enduring all the difficulties, it can be easy to think, “Am I wasting my life?”
Just like Asaph, these are struggles that we usually keep to ourselves rather than share with our brethren (Psalm 73:15). We don’t want to do or say anything that we betray our brethren, so we tend to struggle on in silence.
But in the back of our minds, that drumbeat grows louder, “Am I wasting my life?”
God Restored My Perspective on Life (Psalm 73:16-20).
This struggle of faith had been a painful experience for Asaph (Psalm 73:16), but he still decided to go into the sanctuary of God. There, he was reminded of the end of the wicked and prideful (Psalm 73:17-18).
While Asaph felt like it was his feet that had slipped, he realized that the wicked were really the ones who were standing “in slippery places” (Psalm 73:18). In the end, they would be the ones who experienced “desolation” and “terrors.” They would face God’s judgment.
Preachers, as we proclaim God’s word each week, are we considering God’s word for ourselves? We can get so caught up in preparing sermons to preach to others that we can forget that the same sermon is for us too.
When we are struggling, let’s take time to hear and listen to God’s word for ourselves. His word has something we need to hear if we will take the time to listen.
God Held My Hand Despite My Foolishness (Psalm 73:21-23).
Asaph was distraught when he realized how “foolish and ignorant” he had been to lose the proper perspective on this life (Psalm 73:21-22). However, he also realized that God continued to hold his hand through it all (Psalm 73:23).
Certainly, it is possible for a Christian to fall from God’s grace (Galatians 5:4). However, a child of God can be struggling with their faith while God continues to hold their hand.
Asaph had not left God, but he was struggling, he was starting to slip. But God - just like a loving father - continued to walk with him and hold his hand.
Preacher, as you silently struggle on in your faith and in service to the King - you may feel all alone. But know that you aren’t alone. Your heavenly Father continues to hold your hand.
God is the Rock of My Heart (Psalm 73:24-28).
Asaph ends by praising God for guiding him during his struggles. He said that God was the “rock of his heart and his portion forever” (Psalm 73:26). He had realized the end of the wicked, so he would continue to walk with God, trust in the Lord, and declare all that God had done.
Even if we get “the short end of the stick” as far as this life is concerned, God is our “portion” that no one can take away from us. He is the unmovable, unshakable rock of our hearts.
Asaph realized that even if it looked like he had nothing, he really had everything - he had God.
Preacher, I don’t know how life is going for you, I don’t know what struggles you may be having, but I do know this - with God, we have everything. Regardless of what curveballs life throws at you, cling to Him.
He will not leave you, and no one can take Him from you. He is your Rock.
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