It can be lonely at the top.
You may be surrounded by people who adore you. Yet the pedestal where they put you is a lonely place.
Church problems rest on the shoulders of leaders—further isolation. Even the news is enough to drive you to distraction. Every time you read of the church shrinking or read an article attacking your beliefs you probably feel isolated from the culture. Certainly the downfall of prominent Christian leaders piles on feelings of retreat and isolation.
A few scriptures might strengthen your hand.
You’re not the first to feel alone in a crowd. Paul complained to Timothy, “At my first defense, no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me.” That’s bad! But he was able to add, “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and all the Gentiles might hear.”
So if you and I come under attack we can look to our ancient older brother for words of wisdom and an example of Jesus being there in his hour of dread.
It reeks of a cliché to say the Lord is near. But clichés exist because they trumpet often stated truth.
You and I are never alone—though it is natural to feel that way. Just knowing that can get us through a rough patch. But we know it by faith not sight.
Someone, maybe King David, wrote, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” So, 3,000 years ago a leader felt what you feel. The fact to glean is that God must have turned to him during his affliction or we wouldn’t find these words in the Bible. Again, we’re dealing with faith rising to grapple with truth.
There is a bit of a promise coupled with a warning which has served me for a long time. “God settles the solitary in a home, he leads out the prisoners to prosperity.” That’s the promise to a leader imprisoned by the ministry. Pastoral leadership can be a prison.
There is a warning when we get mad at God (I have, have you?). When you’re feeling sorry for yourself remember, “The rebellious dwell in a parched land.” My feelings of loneliness and imprisonment became a prison of their own making. Each time I found myself wallowing in self-pity I needed a dose of faith (often found in the Psalms) to drag me back into the land of reality and trust in the Lord who has never failed me. I don’t know about you; I do not want to dwell in a parched land.
For more on this click on http://ralphmoore.net/equippers-library Look for “Overcoming Feelings of Loneliness and Isolation (preview).”