Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People
“Today you will run somewhere for refuge. Today there is hope and help to be found. May God be your refuge, and as you run to him, may you remember that he has promised you that there will be a day when your trouble is no more. But you live between the already and the not yet, and the battle still rages. The question for you, pastor, is, are you an aware, wise, and prepared soldier who runs again and again to the Captain of your soul for rescuing, forgiving, transforming, empowering, and delivering grace.” page 110.
On October the 16th, 1555, outside Baliol College in Oxford, England, Hugh Latimer spoke the now infamous words as he and his friend, Nicholas Ridley, were about to be burned at the stake for their faith. Latimer said to his friend, “Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.” Then they were burned to death. Their words, spoken so long ago, are commemorated in this blog today.
Still, there is but one refuge for us as believers, and it is in the hands of God as we serve him here on earth. Soon, however, we will experience him in perfect bliss when we see him face to face. Sometimes it becomes challenging to remember this important truth. Paul said in Romans eight, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” As followers of Christ, and as his dear children, it is important that we remember these words. Unless we live by faith in what Christ has done and believe what he said when he promised to prepare a place for us (John 14), then we may find ourselves seeking refuge elsewhere. And this elsewhere will not deliver what it promises to us. Any refuge short of Christ himself will make grand promises to us, but none will ever deliver. It is easy to settle for less.
One of the struggles of this world (and ministry can bring this on) is that when we suffer or feel any kind of pain we desire immediate relief. That’s what makes trusting the Lord challenging for many people. Trust in God’s word can feel intangible. But make no mistake, God, and his word, is the most tangible thing we will ever have this side of heaven. His promises are sure, his presence is assured, his word is consistent. There are two things that we must understand and embrace as we live and work in ministry. First, he is omniscient. Nothing surprises him. Even your own personal struggle and the pain you may feel. We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all the ways that we have. But he did so without fail. So he surely understands.
Secondly, he is good. In the garden, it was the serpent that planted the doubt that perhaps God was not entirely trustworthy. Amazing to think about it, but that is what happens sometimes in our own minds when we begin to question God’s goodness. We feel pain and turn inward. We try to figure it out and we try to rationalize it, and often we wonder where God is. “Why would he do this?” we may ask. Then, instead of trusting in his goodness and believing him, we ponder things we shouldn’t ponder. And we seek refuge in things we won’t find rest in. Only he can provide the rest we need. He provided rest in Jesus. He provides rest now in our daily experience. Someday he will provide rest in heaven. There is life in him alone, pastor.
In the garden, we were kicked out before we ate of the tree of life. This was God’s kindness to us, as harsh as it may have sounded. He did not want us to live in our brokenness forever. But we see the tree of life again in Revelation. The river of life will be lined with this beautiful tree and it will provide endless fruit. Yes, he is our refuge even when all seems futile and full of pain. Paul tells us it was for freedom that Christ set us free (Galatians 5).
There will some day be a day when trouble is no more. In the meantime, allow him to be “the Captain of your soul for rescuing, forgiving, transforming, empowering, and delivering grace.” Find your refuge in him.
Join us as we explore “Dangerous Calling” by Paul David Tripp.
To order a copy of your own of Paul Tripp’s book click on the link below.
|Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles