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To Discouraged Pastors and Their Wives

6. No Excuses

This is number six (but really a continuation of five). I suppose the most disheartening sentence in this wife’s question was “Our leadership remains fairly silent regarding the criticism and neither offers support nor guidance in how my husband can improve.”

That’s just inexcusable. That’s just inexcusable for a mature, godly staff to function that way. It’s not at all uncommon, unfortunately, and suggests that the leadership is too immature or fearful, as part of their own dysfunction. Too fearful to deal face to face, upfront with the conflict and take the flack that addressing it will get. Many leadership structures experience staff changes by simply not addressing staff problems. That’s the only way they know to deal with them: “Well, if we don’t do anything, the staff member that perhaps shouldn’t be there in our judgment will just not be here if we let things get bad enough.”

Well, that’s awful. That’s just not the way Christians should do things. It just ticks me off when I see that happening. It’s not the way we’re told to deal with each other. It ought not to be, and I don’t know if it is the case there or not, but that sentence was a big red flashing light to me. I was so sad to read it.

Joy Is Coming

Let me end with some encouragement. Clearly, God is sovereign, and God is over this present moment. He has you in this situation of sorrow and pressure and burden and discouragement.

His purpose for you there is not your harm. It’s not your harm. We know this because of Romans 8:28 and Romans 8.32″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>8:32. We know that he has bought with his blood good for you in every circumstance.

We know that his purpose is for you, and he wants your joy in the ministry. We know that because of Hebrews 13:17, where he says, “Let them [the pastors] do their work with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to the you.” We know that God’s purpose is to bring you through this season stronger and happier.

Let me close with these two psalms. Listen with your heart. Let it sink in.

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5). “Those who sow in tears”—like in youth ministry—“shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5–6).

Then this one from Psalm 30: “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

This article originally appeared here.

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John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. John is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at DesiringGod.org. © Desiring God.