Shot to the Gut

Sunday afternoon, after returning from church, I took out my iPad and checked my RSS feed. Not a great way to start out my afternoon recovery. I read a post about a pastor that broke my heart. I have read this guy's blog posts. I've purchased administrative documents from him that we tweaked and use at the church. I enjoyed learning from him. His evangelistic heart showed through everything that he did. He was close to my age and pretty much everything I thought of when I thought of success in ministry.

He is out of the ministry today because of an affair.

I was sick to my stomach when I read about it. I didn't even know the guy personally, but I took his fall personally. All I could think was, "This guy preaches like me, teaches like me, and from where I sit he looks like a better Christian than me." I was pretty angry about the whole thing, but then it turned to sadness and introspection. I've strutted around the last ten years believing I'll never do something like that - pure arrogance. We learned in Sunday school the last two weeks from Ecclesiastes 5 that we should _never_ speak rashly or promise things like that because our perspective is so very limited and, in my interpretation, we are unaware of how perilous our spiritual situations truly are. I repent of that pride and arrogance.

I woke up the next morning feeling so overwhelmingly weak. I think I'm so strong and stike out on my own, apart from God. The reality is that I'm not strong but weak and I've spent a lot of time confessing my prayerlessness and my reliance upon myself rather than Jesus. I pray that's the proper response to news of another pastor's infidelity. I pray that's the proper response because you can bet that there will be a lot of blog posts and talk about how to affair-proof your marriage. I'll tell you this - it's all a bunch of moralizing nonsense if you or me don't stick close to Jesus. I realized just how weak I am, just how much I need God's grace, and just how much of a weak lamb in need of a strong Shepherd I am.

It also brought me to realize that I need my church, my wife, and my friends - more than ever - to pray for me. Not for success. Not for thanksgiving, or anything like that - pray for my prayer time, for my time in the Bible, and most of all for my marriage. I love my wife and have been faithful to her and my intention is, barring death, to make it as long as my grandparents did, but it'll never happen without a total dependance upon Jesus.