Finding Hope in God

Last night, at the end of the first session of our Bishop’s Retreat, I led our clergy family in a time of prayer and reflection. Here’s the gist of what I said.

Leadership and ministry often involves a lot of running. Unfortunately, too much running makes it hard to have a healthy soul!

And, a having a healthy soul is crucial.

I’m reading Replenish by Lance Witt. Witt argues …

We have neglected the fact that a pastor’s greatest leadership tool is a healthy soul.

The prophet Elijah once ran. He needed a rebirth of hope! Listen to what transpires after Elijah’s victory over the prophets of Baal …

Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, how he had killed all Baal’s prophets with the sword. 2 Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah with this message: “May the gods do whatever they want to me if by this time tomorrow I haven’t made your life like the life of one of them.” 3 Elijah was terrified. He got up and ran for his life. He arrived at Beer-sheba in Judah and left his assistant there. 4 He himself went farther on into the desert a day’s journey. He finally sat down under a solitary broom bush. He longed for his own death: “It’s more than enough, Lord! Take my life because I’m no better than my ancestors.” 5 He lay down and slept under the solitary broom bush. Then suddenly a messenger tapped him and said to him, “Get up! Eat something!” 6 Elijah opened his eyes and saw flatbread baked on glowing coals and a jar of water right by his head. He ate and drank, and then went back to sleep. 7 The Lord’s messenger returned a second time and tapped him. “Get up!” the messenger said. “Eat something, because you have a difficult road ahead of you.” 8 Elijah got up, ate and drank, and went refreshed by that food for forty days and nights until he arrived at Horeb, God’s mountain. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. (1 Kings 19.1-9a, Common English Bible)

Elijah ran. There were things he ran from (trouble, fear, desperation). In a sense, there were also things he ran toward (prayer, solitude, replenishment).

Take a moment to reflect on what you may be running from. Then, look for things you might run toward, in order to regain hope and strength.

I love these words spoken by Jesus …

Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11.28, Common English Bible)

And also these words from the Psalms …

Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from him! (Psalm 62.5, Common English Bible)


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