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It seems like an unfortunate reality, at least from my perspective, but people whose main goal in life is to serve people tend to be scrutinized more deeply and misunderstood more often than others. Those on the front lines are more easy to shoot at!

This seems to be especially true for those in ministry and that can be discouraging, debilitating and destructive. I read an article recently documenting the increasing number of pastors who for mental health and physical health reasons have left the ministry.

A personal friend and fellow minister recently left the ministry for this very reason. He’d had a thriving ministry for years until a few people with thick pocket books and strong opinions began to grumble. As he said to me, “It really only takes a few crabby people to destroy a ministry.” He finally left…heartbroken.

While we may not be able to change the target on our chests as servants to the masses (and I refer to those in and out of ministry), we must remind ourselves that even when our actions are misunderstood by the masses, God knows our heart. I remind myself of this truth every once in awhile.

Father, help my motives be pure and my way straight in spite of those who may seek to do me harm through misrepresentation.


I’ve read these verses a hundred times before I realized what total devastation is being described. The entire economy of the nation Israel was dependent on agriculture. We are blessed today to be diverse in our economy and global in our accessibility of the staples of life. Not so the readers of Habakkuk.

We are a generation of the entitled. We naturally expect that if we are uncomfortable, someone is to blame and someone better fix it. If our marriage is unfulfilling we seek other partners; if our church isn’t entertaining enough, or doesn’t make me feel happy, I’ll go elsewhere; If you talk about sin, or point out my failings you are judgmental and I’m going to unfriend you.

We tend to make the same expectations of God. But the testimony of Habakkuk, Job, David, James, Peter and many others in scripture (including Jesus himself!) sends a message loud and clear to those of us who claim to love God and believe in his sovereignty.

The rest of the world can fall apart around me. My relationships my fail me. My job may not pay enough to meet my needs. I may not like the music at my church. My health my be faltering. I may be ashamed of my _____________ (fill this one in yourself). Yet, although I may not understand; although I may struggle to believe; although I may not see the evidence, YET I put my trust in you O God because I know, ultimately your way is best.


To those of us who are Christ-followers, we must realize that we speak a language few understand, and the problem is becoming increasingly evident.

Several years ago our family traveled to the SW United States. Since we were only a few miles from the Mexican Border, we decided to cross over and see this foreign land that is our neighbor. None of us spoke Spanish. None of us had ever experienced a situation in which we were obviously the minority. It was an interesting lesson to learn!

Don’t get me wrong. The people were very friendly and tried to be accommodating. There were a few smiles which I assume could have been translated as “silly Americans!”

The problem wasn’t intelligence. The problem wasn’t arrogance or racism. The problem was we didn’t speak the language. We tried. The people tried. But while there was some similarity, there was an obvious communication gap.

I see similar situations in the church today. We need to come to the point where we realize we live in a post Christian Era and a post Christian America. Regardless of who’s to blame, we simply don’t speak a language others understand.

Don’t ridicule the natives. They simply don’t understand. Our visit to Mexico and a small cafe was ‘rescued’ when a server knew English. He could translate to our server what we wanted to eat.

In the spiritual realm we also have a translator, the Holy Spirit. I’ve tried to remember to pray that the Spirit would speak to those in my circles that need Jesus. I can say my words. I can tell my story. But HE is the one who will give understanding. Don’t just pray for those you know who need Jesus. Ask His Spirit to ‘interpret’ the message for you.


We live in a culture that comes just short of ridiculing anyone who implies they need help. We like our independence. We like to be able to say “I did it! And I did it my way!”

Ironically, at the same time, Psychologists tell us that we are a ‘lonely people’. A recent study showed that nearly half of the people interviewed felt isolated and alienated from their peers.

I wonder if Solomon was thinking of loneliness and alienation when he wrote these verses in Ecclesiastes. Certainly as king of Israel he needed no one, and if he did, they were at his beck and call. Yet there was a loneliness there. A realization that no one is an island regardless of their political, social or financial stature.

While there are exceptions of course, generally speaking people who reach out to help people are generally those that others are willing to help. Jesus story of the Good Samaritan teaches us that everyone is our neighbor and so, each of us has a responsibility to reach out a helping hand. The help we receive isn’t a reason to help, it’s a side-benefit.


“I tried praying once but nothing happened.”

“I prayed really hard that mom would be healed and she died. What’s the use?”

“I really needed that job but he wouldn’t give it to me. I doubt he really exists anyway.”

You can add yours to the list. We are a hurting people and when you are hurting, and God seems silent, well…that’s about the worst feeling a person can get.

Unanswered prayers are one of the most difficult of all topics because the pain is real. It’s hard to understand a God that seemingly builds your hopes up and then smashes them to the ground.

Oh, sometimes we can look back and see the reasons. Sometimes we come to a point of understanding. But not always.

There are tons of unanswered prayers in the Bible by some pretty Godly men. Joseph, Moses, Abraham, David…to name a few. My favorite is Job. That guy really got nailed and God never did explain it to him!

So what made them go on? What pushed them through the silence and darkness? I think it was the realization that a bad day with God was better than the best day without him. I haven’t gained all understanding on this yet, but it seems God is more concerned about our faith in him than he is our earthly comfort. That’s not to say he is against earthly comfort of course. He offers plenty. But his main focus is on trusting him and seeing the world through his eyes. The closer we get to God, the more his desires become our own and the wiser our prayers become.

Prayers that match his desires are more likely to be answered.

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