Saving our Messes for after the Holidays

It is the Friday side of a week of counseling. I have to admit I am a bit tired. It is the first week after a New Year. As most pastors will tell you, this is a time when people unburden themselves of the problems they have been holding on to a long time. In fact, they knew they had them as they went into the holidays, but wanting to keep the family together, or keep the family from knowing about their pain, or a host of other reasons, they held their pain inside until after the first of the year. I suppose there is a kind of nobility in suffering through Christmas for the sake of the kids of grandma. But the shock of disclosure is all the more devastating when the stripped down fir is put out on the curb for the trash-man. But this is where we are.

So, I sit on the Friday side of my own emotional Tsunami: and go from body to body hit by the waves of the New Year disclosures: cheating, guilty husbands, hopeless wives, distressed children, depressed professionals. But through it all, Christ is here. In fact He is most discernible in the aftermath of such things. St. Paul experienced this. And so he wrote:
“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12.10 ESV).

Calamities. I do not like them. But can I say that I am “content” with them? I am not content with them in other’s lives when they come from sin. “Let none of you suffer” from your sin, Peter taught. No, I am saddened by sin and the devastating effects of sin in others. But I am confident. I am confident that feeling weak and in need of God’s wisdom for a weakened pastor is right where I need to be. For when I am weak, He is strong.

It is a New Year. There are calamities. But God is here. It’s almost like He has been saving His grace to suddenly display in glorious splendor, against the backdrop of our messes, for such a time as this. His love always shines more in such times.


About Michael Milton, Ph.D.

Michael A. Milton, Ph.D. (University of Wales, Trinity Saint David's College), is an American Presbyterian pastor, theologian, and author. He is, also, an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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