I’ve been reading through 2 Corinthians over the last couple of days, and God brought me to chapters 11 and 12 this morning. Paul recounts in chapter 11 all the suffering he has endured as an apostle. It is quite a list. At the very end, he tacks on this little verse: “and, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” Yes! I resonate with that completely. Although Paul’s anxiety daily pressure and anxiety was for many churches, I feel that daily pressure and anxiety over just this one church.
I don’t know if there has been a time in my life when I have felt more weak. The process of church planting tends to bring you to the end of yourself. Logistics and administration abound in this process, and these are not my strong suit. People, meetings, budgets, discipleship, decisions, teaching, preaching, phone call, letters, and so much more all add up. These take me to the end of myself and reveal my weaknesses.
By the way, did I mention that my beautiful bride is pregnant and due in just a couple of short weeks? Talk about God bringing us to the end of our selves in our family. Life is about to change dramatically with a baby in the house. We haven’t had a baby in over 4 years and almost forget what it is like to have a little one. I am grateful for older siblings who will play with the baby and change his diapers, taking some of the load of mommy and daddy.
On top of daily pressure of my anxiety for the church, there is the daily pressure of my anxiety for my family as well. I feel that church planting comes with a heightened sense of spiritual attacks, particularly on a church planter’s family. A very subtle way this rears its head is through stress and pressure. The baby’s coming is just part of it. Each of our children is unique and requires special attention to teach them and disciple them. Stephanie and I constantly wonder whether we are doing the right things for our children. The attacks threaten our marriage as well. Please pray for Stephanie and me, that we would be aware of Satan’s schemes. Pray that our marriage would be grounded in grace and the truth of the gospel.
Through it all, Paul’s words from God in 2 Corinthians 12:9 are such a huge comfort: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And I pray that Paul’s response would be my response: ”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” I feel the weakness that Paul describes here, and I pray that God’s power is displayed through it and he plants his church here in Spring Hill.