#HopeForPastorsWives, Dear Pastor's Wife

Dear Pastor’s Wife: You Can Be The Helpless Player


Dear Pastor’s Wife,

Every December I ask God to give me fresh eyes for the story of His Son’s birth. I am annually amazed at the “little” things He brings out to me that I have either not noticed before or not given due attention to. This year is proving to be no different, and God is blessing me with more knowledge of Himself in the details of His story. This year He is highlighting how helpless, yet how in control He was in the “drama” of His advent.  And the parallels to ministry are striking.

Have you ever spent a long time meditating about what it must have been like for Christ when He came to earth? How He put Himself in an utterly helpless position from the moment of conception? (Is there anything more helpless than a baby?) How He made Himself of no reputation? (Does any baby you know have a reputation yet?)

To someone who reads the Christmas story at face value and doesn’t know the Bible or the prophecies or the character of God, the story of Christ’s birth would seem absurd. Why would a Creator and King make Himself so helpless, so humble, so dependent on others to take care of Him and keep Him safe? Yes… it seems absurd.

On the surface, it appears that He is the helpless player in the drama, the One Who moves with no purpose, and puts Himself in the most unsafe and unstable surroundings.

Oh…..how this reminds me of something, of someone! It reminds me of ministry, of you and of me.

I have wailed to my husband in the past, “I feel like we are at the mercy of everyone else’s bad decisions!”  Truly we were, and it wasn’t a pretty scene.  In fact, most of our ministry life has been characterized that way, because of church culture and other factors. One time my husband and I remarked that we felt like we were in a movie, but had no role.

We were the helpless players. Yet….. we were the ones God had sent to servant lead, to shepherd the flock. How does one untangle the irony in God’s ways?

I know for a fact that there are many, many pastors’ wives who are in the midst of seemingly impossible circumstances in ministry. Some words that come into my inbox frequently are “helpless,” “done,” “can’t,” and “hands are tied.”

Make no mistake- these are not always words of defeat or of giving up completely. These are words from pastors’ wives who care deeply and are involved, yet they are in a situation where they are helpless to change or even affect what is going on around them. They are boxed in, stiff armed, held hostage and threatened by what is going on. And being human, they are scared.

Being the helpless player is a devastating, fear-filled, hopeless position to be in……

IF, and only if, there is no one in control.

But there IS someone in control, and that is Christ, the once helpless babe. Was He really helpless? Of course not. He was all the time in full control, orchestrating every minute, incredible detail of His Story. With Calvary in His view. FOR US.  He let Himself be the helpless baby player for the sake of the Gospel.

When you allow yourself to be the helpless player, you are letting the government be on HIS shoulder, and not yours. {Isaiah 9:6}

When everything around you is awful, He is Wonderful. {Isaiah 9:6}

When you don’t know what to do, He is your Counsellor. {Isaiah 9:6}

When you “can’t even,” He is the Mighty God on your behalf. {Isaiah 9:6} When you humbly allow yourself to remain with arms tied, you give space for the mighty hand of God to work.

When you feel like you are alone, He is your Everlasting Father. {Isaiah 9:6}

When you minister in an unsettled and difficult church, He is the Prince of Peace in your heart. {Isaiah 9:6}

When you allow yourself to have no reputation, you are like the baby Christ.

When you are helpless, He holds your right hand and says “I will help you.” {Isaiah 41:13}

When you have no control over circumstances, He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. {Colossians 1:17}

When you have no say in the matter, He is the Word. {John 1:1}

When you are paralyzed by fear of what the other players are doing to your reputation, saying about your husband, threatening his job and your entire livelihood, you can rest instead.

Because God is in control, you can be the helpless player without fear.

You can hang in there, because being the helpless player in your life story is not a mistake or something you must fix immediately. It IS the plan, and a significant, necessary part of making you like Christ. Walking with God means walking through the same things He walked through, living the life He lived. This is the fellowship of His sufferings.

Are you feeling like a helpless player, dear pastor’s wife? You are not alone. Though you wouldn’t choose it, you are in the exact position Christ chose to put Himself in when He came to earth.  Which means you are FAR from helpless.


A Kindred Spirit

3 thoughts on “Dear Pastor’s Wife: You Can Be The Helpless Player

  1. For four long long years I felt alone, fearful, betrayed and just helpless! A toxic, mean spirited church with a long history of being like this! Yet God used this church to bring me helpless before Him. Teaching me that only He could bring me through it when I thought we would never ever get through it! Two and a half years we searched for a way to go, yet God kept closing the doors shut!!! I now know it was for our good, for His loving kindness He was teaching us many lessons!!! We are now in a wonderful, Christ loving church, not without problems – as of course no church is! God gave us our “Berean” church that we prayed for! The lessons we learned from the other church we now use?Now when I have a chance to speak I teach about those principles I learned and how God used them in my life then and now for His glory!!!!

  2. When I feel helpless, remember Christ’s willingness to be a helpless baby…what a great meditation right now for so many reasons! Thank you!

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