“I tell you the story, brethren, because you sometimes may not understand your own experience, and the perfect people may condemn you for having it; but what know they of God’s servants? You and I have to suffer much for the sake of the people of our charge? You may be in Egyptian darkness, and you may wonder why such a horror chills your marrow; but you may be altogether in the pursuit of your calling, and be led of the Spirit to a position of sympathy with desponding minds.” – Charles Spurgeon
Sometimes you are called to preach from the pit. Pain, suffering, grief, and sorrow are not reasons for the minister to back away from his calling to proclaim the word of God; they are often reasons to lean into it. Times of peace and comfort highlight certain truths as we study scripture, but there are other treasures that we can only mine with the shovel of suffering. It is not as if the Bible is incomprehensible without specific experiences, but when we are hurting, those same truths we glossed over in pleasant times flow over us as a balm of comfort in times of need.
Pastor, if you find yourself in the pit, it is not time to despair. Instead, it is time to look to see what God is about to do. A servant of God is never laid low without cause. The heavy hand of God may feel like it is crushing you, but what the Lord may be doing is pressing you into the depths of his word to let you know, as Corrie Ten Boom once said, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” While you are there, he may show you the power of several biblical truths you might have neglected in the past.
Once you have these truths in hand, do not expect Him to lift his heavy hand off you immediately.