We spend a lot of our lives doing the impossible – trying to perform for God. This became real to me sitting on a hillside a few years back. The moment is still indelibly etched into my memory.
My mind was rehearsing the words from my personal physician and friend, “you are in a state of extreme fatigue and you are on the verge of entering into a deep depression.” Constant striving combined with physical defects led my body to shut me down. Ministry as I knew it came to a crashing end.
I sat on a log looking over a valley I often walked to and read the next Psalm.
“O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! (Psalm 139:5-6 ESV)
Then I came to understand. What I accomplished was nothing but a vapor, a breath dissipating into the air.
I read this quote from Irwin Lutzer that so capably puts life and ministry, success and failure into perspective:
If you are like me, you will never reach all your goals. Your “real” self will never match your “ideal” self face to fact. Don’t live in a dream world, thinking of what you could have done or even should have done. Success, as we usually think of it, is simply not an option for everyone. But fellowship with God is! And if the chief end of man is to know God and enjoy Him forever, that goal is possible for you. Try it. You can’t go wrong.
After all, you may not be accomplishing as much as you think you are!
Putting ministry dependence in Christ is counterintuitive, yet this is what Christ wants of us in ministry. Now I may do less, but I am satisfied in knowing I’m doing in Christ more. I’m learning more of what verse seven means.
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.