Jesus said, "See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes." Matthew 10:16-23
I spend a good deal of time as a bishop sitting with clergy who are worn down and exhausted. They are lovely, gifted people who have been through difficult times. They come to a community with great joy and purpose but can find themselves hurt and abused by their own people. They need sanctuary and rest, they need healing and restoration. They are people who have been and want to serve God but find themselves rubbed raw and confused. I wish I could provide them all with a good rest and a real vacation. Often times the only solution is to get out of the situation and begin again elsewhere.
The disciples, sent out by Jesus, were facing problems as we do. Some times our own people are on the attack, abusing and destroying the good work around them. Even Jesus suggested that we flee from that. And, even more so, he promises that we will be given the tools we need when pressed beyond measure, that God, as a loving parent, will send the spirit to speak and live through us.This is an honest understanding of the work of serving God. There is no happy, slappy community of the faithful, but a world full of tortured and angry souls who need the good news and are sometimes impossible to deal with. It is truly so encouraging that God promises to be with us in these times.
Today I ask God to help me seek the healing and restoration I need, so that I can endure to the end. May we all trust that the Spirit will use us and move through us, especially when our skills and strengths are spent. May we with joy carry the good news, knowing we are never alone where ever we go.