CourageI’ve been intending to pick up the pace on my blog again – meaning from having no pace at all, to writing again. Life has kept us very busy, albeit a good busy. Seeing that it’s Friday, I thought I’d jump in where I left off and share some reflections for the preacher’s wife.

The life of a preacher is a unique one and I’m so thankful for the opportunities in life that have come my way because of being a preacher’s wife.  If you are fortunate enough to serve in a congregation such as the one we work with, you will see that there are still some very good people in this world today. We have some people who would do anything for us, if we had a need to be met. We have tried to show genuine love and compassion to people around us, both in and out of the church, and we have been blessed. People have given us fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, various types of meat, and other gifts, as a way to show kindness to our family. Our lives have been greatly enriched because of George’s being a preacher, and it’s moments like these that make being a preacher easy. 🙂

However, there are also some occasions when a preacher’s work is far from easy. There are circumstances that demand courage to do some hard things. It takes courage to talk to people on a personal level about things like whether or not a husband and wife really have the right to be married to one another,  or declining to perform a wedding ceremony when a Christian wants to marry a nonChristian. It would be a whole lot easier to just not deal with those sorts of things, but being willing to “do hard things” is what God expects us to do. I am so thankful that my husband loves peoples’ souls enough that he has the courage to talk to people about hard things.

It also takes courage to talk to people who have turned their back on God. Sometimes when people are not living right, if they are approached in a kind way, they will at least acknowledge that they know they should do better, even though they might not have the gumption to change. There are others, however, who are are not so easy to deal with, regardless of how kindly you go about it. George recently paid a visit to a wayward member who has a very unpredictable temperament (a long history of  violence, which includes several arrests). The man unleashed a tirade of cussing and swearing, blaming everyone else in the world for his problems, except himself, of course.  George just had to turn and walk away. It takes courage and self-control to deal with difficult people.

God wants individuals who are willing to stand up for what is right, even when it’s not the popular thing to do. What if Isaiah said “You know, I want to be one of God’s people, but being a prophet will be too difficult and I know ahead of time that no one will listen, so no, I don’t think I want to go that route. I know you need to send someone Lord, but please send somebody else.”  No, that’s not what Isaiah said.  He said “Here am I, send me.”  What if the apostle Paul decided to give up preaching, because he simply got fed up with the continual abuse (to put it mildly) he received for preaching the whole counsel of God? I’m glad he stuck it out, aren’t you?

Courage is not for a select few in the congregation. Elders, deacons, preachers, the wives of these men, and every single Christian should answer God’s call to be courageous. However, since the post is intended to be reflections for the preacher’s wife, I would like to underscore the fact that God needs courageous wives – wives who are willing to stand by their men when the going gets tough. Our husbands need to hear “I appreciate your willingness to do hard things”. They need to know that we are willing to stick it out with them, through thick and through thin, and that we will not suggest that they do something else in life, because being a preacher is too difficult.

On Wednesday evenings we’ve been studying the book of James. James has a thing or two to say about the topic of suffering and persecution. James 5:10,11 says “As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” If you want to see what real courage looks like, do some study about the persecutions that faithful men and women of God have endured in centuries gone by. For example:

“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” Hebrews 11:32-38.

When I read about men and women of God who underwent that sort of persecution, it really makes our sort of “courage” look rather pitiful, don’t you think?