The Rough Edge of Ministry


In the shadows – near the rough edge of ministry – every pastor hears the faint echo of yesterday and he sees the fading faces of those who languished in the darker valleys of life.

Many years ago a man named John was forced to deal with a tragedy that was far greater than he could bear. The wounds of life, the wounds of love – and a pain so deep, so very, very deep, and so great – these were flung upon him. A large commercial airliner fell out of the sky on his home. He suffered the death of his young daughter. She was a child, his precious child.

John couldn’t explain it – it was inexplicable. He couldn’t comprehend how such a thing could happen – it was incomprehensible. And, he couldn’t make sense out of the insensible – it was irrational, illogical. He could only touch lightly upon his wounds, the wounds of love as he felt and mourned the loss of his child.

“I’m like a man walking through life with no feet,” said John. “I’m alive – but I’m hurting every step of the way.”

The wounds of life, the wounds of love – Sometimes they inflict a pain so severe, so very, very deep, and so great and grievous that words fail us.

Standing in yesterday’s dim shadow near the rough edge of memory and ministry is another. She was a deaf mute who was suddenly and heroically facing something far more grievous that her disabilities. She was dealing with the inexplicable -- the incomprehensible – the irrational. A New Orleans police officer solemnly stood at her door. Her son, her only son – “He was a good boy, Brother John, he was a good boy.”

Murder. Murdered on the streets of New Orleans.

It was – unanticipated – unexpected – she simply turned a corner in life and there it was – a pain so deep, so very, very deep – far greater than she could bear.

“Brother John, my heart; O, my heart; my heart is so torn, so torn apart, so picked to pieces,” she said through sign language, “O Brother John, I doubt even God can put the pieces together again.”

The wounds of life, the wounds of love – Sometimes they inflict a pain so deep, so very, very severe, and so great that poets and philosopher’s and others who think deeply about such things are stunned to silence.

-- When I Can’t Find God by Dr. John Dee Jeffrries

selected excerpts Chapter 7 - Faith and Feelings

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