Posted by: Robin Foster | December 17, 2007

For My Brother Pastors Suffering Adversity

Imitation of Christ – Thomas a Kempis

Book One – The Twelfth Chapter

The Value of Adversity

It is good for us to have trials and troubles at times, for they often remind us that we are on probation and ought not to hope in any worldly thing. It is good for us sometimes to suffer contradiction, to be misjudged by men even though we do well and mean well. These things help us to be humble and shield us from vainglory. When to all outward appearances men give us no credit, when they do not think well of us, then we are more inclined to seek God Who sees our hearts. Therefore, a man ought to root himself so firmly in God that he will not need the consolations of men. When a man of good will is afflicted, tempted and tormented by evil thoughts, he realizes clearly that he greatest need is God, without Whom he can do no good. Saddened by his miseries and sufferings, he laments and prays. He wearies of living longer and wishes for death that he might be dissolved and be with Christ. Then he understands full that perfect security and complete peace cannot be found on earth.

This bit of wisdom I relay to my brothers who are serving the Lord as pastors and facing terrible circumstances. For those who have prayed for months about the Lord’s will and when received, they shared it with the deacons, only to have the idea squashed in the matter of 15 minutes by men who have not prayed at all. This is for pastors whose wife and children have been the targets of retaliation by disgruntled church members. This is for pastors who have had their words taken wrongly and misstated to others. This is for the pastors who have had lies spread about them. This is for the pastors who labored in God’s Word this week only to have someone tell you they are not being fed. This is for my brothers who may have been in the wrong, realized their mistake, sought forgiveness, but were never fully forgiven. This is for the pastor whose child has gone wayward. This is for the pastor who is barely above the poverty line and whose car gave out last week, had to take their child to the hospital, or gave his last twenty dollars to a single mom so she could buy some diapers.

This is for my brothers who are ready to quit. Find your solace in Christ alone. He will renew the calling He gave to you and will guide you in fulfilling it.

On this Monday, may you be comforted by God’s love and grace in the face of adversity.


  1. Paul

    Thanks for the comment, you have been missed at From the Hill.

  2. Robin,

    What a great and thoughtful word for many Pastors. Especially at this time of the year.

    Years ago Paul Bilheimer wrote a book entitled “Don’t Waste Your Sorrows” in which he lays out his biblical view that the “weight” of sorrow and pain here is directly connected to the “weight” of Glory then.

    His thesis was that God is, by allowing suffering here at the hands of whatever/whomever, simply preparing those sufferers for speial things that eye hasn’t seen, ear hasn’t heard, and haven’t even been thought of, that other believers will not share in. All believers will share gloriously then of course, but special sufferers here in a special way there.

    Was he correct? I’m not sure of a definitive answer, but it is sure an encouragement when I share that possibility with people like you’ve described in your thoughtful post. Well done.

    Paul B.

  3. Brother Robin,

    Every Monday I am ready to turn in my resignation letter. :^)

    Seriously, I know some pastors that are really struggling right now. I pray that they hang on.



  4. good word… many thanks,

  5. robin,

    amen and thanks for the good word.



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