This week has been what some might call a hell week. We had our church’s annual Christmas dinner on Sunday evening. I was forced to leave early to be with a dying man in the hospital. I was by his side when he went to heaven at one o’clock Monday morning.
That same morning, I conducted the funeral of another woman who had passed away the week before. That night I was once again at the hospital until 2 AM with another dying man. While I was with him and his family, I was called to another hospital with a lady who had suffered a stroke.
On Wednesday, I visited five different people under our spiritual care at the hospital. I also met with one family to discuss their upcoming funeral. That evening I conducted my second funeral of the week.
My third funeral is on Saturday morning. I also have a wedding that afternoon. The visitation for the funeral will be on Friday evening from 5-7 PM. The wedding rehearsal is at six.
Oh, and my daughter is dancing in nine performances of our local production of “The Nutcracker” this weekend. I am signed up to be a volunteer chaperone for four of those performances on Thursday and Friday.
As I sit in the middle of this monster week, I have become keenly aware of two things. First of all, I have to admit I can’t do this. The demands of the ministry at times overwhelm me. Wading knee-deep into the muck of other people’s messes as I carry my own baggage is exhausting. Facing the tear-filled eyes of grieving wives and children is heart-wrenching. Finding time for everybody is impossible.
I can’t do this on my own. Thankfully, I’m not on my own. The all-powerful God has been with me every step of the way. His promises of forgiveness and heaven are my comfort and my message. With his help, I will get through this and every other monster week of my ministry.
The other truth of which I am reminded this week is what a privilege it is to be a pastor. This week, I have been welcomed into numerous families to share with them their most personal highs and lows. This week, I had the opportunity to tell a dying man, burdened by guilt and regret, that God forgave him.
By the end of the week, I will have had the chance to tell hundreds of people about Jesus’ love and sacrifice. I will have shared with three grieving families God’s invitation to the family reunion of heaven.
Yes, this has been a hard week, but it hasn’t been a hell week.
It’s been a heaven week.