I am broken. I lead a community of broken people called a church. And we often say, unapologetically, that we are a community of the broken who have good news for the broken.
The Importance of Humble Leadership
Don’t misunderstand. I don’t mean that we’re “broken” in the sense that we’re rendered useless by our imperfections. The opposite is actually true. We’re made more useful, and we discover our greatest purpose through our pain and suffering.
A.W. Tozer is often credited with a quote I’ve shared a few times myself,
It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.
And without fail, every time I share it, I get pushback and it usually revolves around the idea that God would never hurt us, right? Isn’t his plan for our lives more along the lines of health, wealth and prosperity?
But consider the context in which Tozer wrote his statement…
We tend to think of Christianity as a painless system by which we can escape the penalty of past sins and attain to heaven at last. The flaming desire to be rid of every unholy thing and to put on the likeness of Christ at any cost is not often found among us. We expect to enter the everlasting kingdom of our Father and to sit down around the table with sages, saints and martyrs; and through the grace of God, maybe we shall; yes, maybe we shall. But for the most of us it could prove at first an embarrassing experience. Ours might be the silence of the untried soldier in the presence of the battle-hardened heroes who have fought the fight and won the victory and who have scars to prove that they were present when the battle was joined.
The devil, things and people being what they are, it is necessary for God to use the hammer, the file and the furnace in His holy work of preparing a saint for true sainthood. It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.
~ A.W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous (p. 165).
So it isn’t that God causes evil to come into our lives for no purpose. Rather, it is that he uses the suffering we endure for our good, to prepare and shape our character so that we’re up to the task of leadership.
I happen to be a pastor who struggles with depression. And I’m not alone.
I’ve spent nearly a decade networking with pastors and church leaders all over the world and I never cease to be surprised at the number who, in private conversation, will divulge their own battles with depression and loneliness.