For the last year despite periods of joy and gladness in a multitude of small things; for which I praise God, there has been a struggle. I have felt as if God were far off, and my cries for help unheard. An ever-present feeling of doubt sewed lies in my mind, birthing comparisons that led me to question the validity of anything I did, and tiredness made opening the Word a task that required a large effort.

To sum it up, I arrived in January 2020 broken, crushed, fretful and worn out. All this occurred after leading in student ministry intensively for three years. On my shoulders were the weight that came from ministry “success” and how this compared to what I thought it ought to have been. It was early in the year that from my frustration I cried out to God: “I’ve tried and I didn’t get to see what I thought you had shown me and placed in my heart.” It was at this time God gave me a response that started a process of healing. He simply said, “I know”.

The joy and comfort those two words brought me were immense – even through the ugly mess of tears and a season of being pruned and refined began. 

Why am I sharing this? 

It is NOT because I have somehow had an encounter in which the trials are lifted, or the tiredness taken away. I have cried out to God, in the late hours, in the early hours, in the car driving to work, while wrapped in the guilt of my failures, and while joyful in His provision. Yet – it did not appear to be the will of God that he should send someone to speak a rhema word of direction and encouragement at that time. It was the journey God was using to shape me. From beginning to cry out to God for a word till now it has been over a year, it was three months before I received those two words mentioned, and 10 months since, and yes there are still new problems –  new problems every day.  Yet, I am learning grace through it all – one that draws my heart closer to God. As I’ve said to some of you it felt like every branch of my ministry tree was cut off this year, but I’m so grateful, as God has grown my heartwood – and I would do it all again just for that”.

Going through difficulty is a blessing. I encourage you to be bold in prayer over yourself and others. Do not run away from hardship and discouragement but instead pray that your “heartwood” may grow like a fine timber in the assurance of God. Dear Church, every one of us gets tired and discouraged at some point – we should embrace these times to the glory of God. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that, BECAUSE God’s power is made perfect when we are weak, we can boast all the more gladly in weakness because this is when Christ’s power is most fully revealed.  Amen.

Samuel Anderson
Graduate Secondary School Teacher
UniGen UQ2, Hope Church St Lucia