Dear Pastor . . . When You Wonder How You’ll Make It, Remember This

Dear Pastor . . . When You Wonder How You’ll Make It, Remember This

This article is part of the Dear Pastor series.

Dear Pastor,

What you and I both need to make it over the long haul, I feel hesitant to share.

In my experience, this unsaid thing for sustaining a long, fruitful life and ministry sounds too basic to some who quickly dismiss it.

“Yes, yes, of course,” they say, “but do let us move on. Give us the meat of the word.”

Others, when hearing this ancient unstoppable promise of God, deem it weak; helpful, perhaps, for more civil times, but unworkable for our current cultural battles.

And because what I’m about to say is so old (Ps. 25:6) as to be forgotten by the young, some will even grow suspicious of my orthodoxy, wary of my gospel commitments.

But, dear pastor, when you wonder how you’ll make it, there is something you must remember, something I need you to remind me of too.

So, I’ll get to it and say it plain.
Pastor, you are loved by God.
Forgetting this, we quit, or worse (Ps. 106:7).

The Practice of His Love

Begin to tend and consider God’s steadfast love and your heart grows wiser (Ps. 107:43).

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. —Ps. 90:14

You can make it all your days, go the distance with gladness, if you know you’re loved.

You wake up in the morning fragmented, distracted, criticized, discontented, hurried into activity. Plead the scarcity within your soul. You do not stop at “Help me believe your steadfast love.” Move farther in to the experience of it to be “satisfied” by it.

Ask also to hear of his steadfast love (Ps. 143:8) and then, dear pastor, sing of it (Ps. 59:16).

By the time you reach for your phone, check your task list, respond to email, begin to study, or keep your first appointment, his steadfast love reshapes your vision, empowers you to walk faithfully into what awaits you.

For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness. —Ps. 26:3

So, what does this mean for you, dear pastor (and for those you serve)?

Relocate the True Story Each Morning

1. Begin your morning remembering who God is.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made. —Ps. 145:8–9; 86:15; 103:8, 11, 17

2. Remember that you are in God’s world.

the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD. —Ps. 33:5

3. Put evil news and tauntings back into their proper places.

Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?
The steadfast love of God endures all the day. —Ps. 52:1

Amid lament, righteous anger, or frightened thoughts, relocate the good news.

The steadfast love of the Lord.
It fills the earth.
All day long it doesn’t quit.

4. Which means that you remember who you are in the morning.

His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love. —Ps. 147:10–11

His love for you, not your effort, forges your hope. His delight and joy in you isn’t sparse or leftover, but “great!” (Ps. 117:2).

5. So, use the word “my.”

he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge . . . —Ps. 144:2

His love isn’t about you, pastor, but it envelopes you.
He loves his people, and you are one of them.

But What If?

Your work seems small or uncertain? Appeal to his love for you.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. —Ps. 138:8

You feel like you’re failing? Appeal to his love.

When I thought, “My foot slips,”
your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. —Ps. 94:18

You feel lost, mocked, undefended? Plead His love.

Lord, where is your steadfast love of old . . . ? —Ps. 89:49

Has your steadfast love forever ceased?
Are your promises at an end for all time? —Ps. 77:8

There’s so much you don’t know?

Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love,
and teach me your statutes. —Ps. 119:124

You can’t seem to find any comfort?

Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. —Ps. 119:76

You feel worn out, apathetic, spent?

Give me life according to your steadfast love. —Ps. 119:159; 88

All you want to do is glorify him? Then, dear pastor, his love is your hope!

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! —Ps. 115:1

You’re lost without rescue? Plead his great love!

Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.—Ps. 6:4; 109:21, 26; 103:4

You feel you’re not worthy to worship him? You’re right, but for his love!

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house. —Ps. 5:7

All you can see is your sin? Appeal to his love.

Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me . . . —Ps. 25:7; Prov. 16:6

All you can feel are throbbing wounds from being sinned against? Look to his love.

I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my so. —Ps. 31:7

You have nothing to offer him?

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. —Ps. 136:26

Behold the Grace of His Love

Jesus invites us to notice a bird or a flower, to see in their care the one who cares for us (Matt. 6:28–30).

When you pray, speak intimately to God as a good father who won’t give you a scorpion or a snake when what you most need is bread (Luke 11:11–13).

Such love in Christ changed even a man like Saul of Tarsus, who took up the Psalmist’s baton in Christ.

For Paul, God’s steadfast love in Jesus:

1. prioritizes our meditation. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Cor. 13:7–8).

2. frames our prayers for each other. “That you . . . may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:18–19)

3. anchors our identity. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me..” (Gal. 2:20)

4. prompts our repentance. “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4)

5. empowers our obedience. “Be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph. 5:1).

6. enables us to make it no matter what. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom. 8:35–39)

Dear Pastor, isn’t this why Jesus’s life is so precious to you?
“See how he loved?” they’d say.
Isn’t this why you so regard the death of Jesus?
“Forgive them,” he said.
Isn’t this why the resurrection of Jesus emboldens you?
“Death, sin, and miseries will die, but his love remains.”
Isn’t this why his coming again aches your heart with longing? For he is the steadfast lover of your soul.
No wonder it was said by those who knew him.
“His love for us never quit” —John 13:1.

Zack Eswine is the author of The Imperfect Pastor: ​​Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus.

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Author: Zack Eswine

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