IN 2019, I HAD ALL BUT FAINTED. This was the worst year in ministry we had ever experienced. I thought the beginning years of planting a church were rough, they were nothing compared to 2019. We had a large group of people leave the church, which would be ok if people just left; but these spread slander about myself and my husband. They publicly lied and called up most of our congregation to speak evil against us. We kept our mouths silent and allowed those to speak and spread an evil report. There was also a bunch of collateral damage- people who were not associated with them, but believed the false report and left.
Before I continue, be warned friend: you better handle your offense before it becomes a root of bitterness that defiles the whole body. You can leave a church, but the way and manner in which you leave matters. If you leave causing division and speaking evil, you will reap division and evil in your life. The destruction you cause will come back on you. To continue my story: during this time, my husband was invited to speak in California at a friend’s church. We were numb on our 12 hour drive down to California.
There were times in ministry we were tired and just plain worn out, and we wanted to quit. This season we wanted to quit and just run away and hide. The saving grace was finding out this was a common occurrence within the church body. It wasn’t us- this had happened at least once to every pastor we were in relationship with. We had come down to bless the California congregation and they blessed us. The whole church brought us up to pray over us. One lady quoted a Scripture for us from the Lord. Now, the following Scripture is not a very commonly quoted one, but it’s one that the Lord gave me in my first year of salvation to memorize. It’s been etched on my heart for 28 years now: “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Proverbs 24:10 ESV
Pulpit commentary: If you are impatient and unable to bear sufferings; if you raise your resolution flag, and give way to despondency or dejection of mind; your strength is small — Hebrew, is narrow, it lies in a little compass; it is strait, as your condition is; for there is an elegant allusion in the word rendered small, or narrow, in this clause, to that rendered adversity in the former. The sense is, This is a sign that you have but little Christian strength or courage, for that is best known by adversity.At that moment, I knew the Lord was telling me to rise up and be courageous. He was not done with us, therefore we were not done. This was one of those defining moments in my life.
The Lord also spoke a very clear word to me about the enemy: the enemy does not need to destroy my life, he just has to render me ineffective. The enemy had me in a fetal position and I needed to rise in the strength and courage of the Lord. God was not done, therefore I was not done. Only the fire can bring forth the gold.
One of the reasons I love reading about king David is because of how many times he was in adversity and what he did in those times. The Psalms are a staple in my everyday reading. One of my favorite stories of David is found in 1 Samuel 30:6 where David was at perhaps the very lowest ebb of his fortunes. He had long been a wandering outlaw, and had finally been driven, by Saul’s persistent hostility, to take refuge in the Philistines’ country. He had gathered around himself a band of desperate men, and was living very much like a freebooter. He had found refuge in a little city of the Philistines, far down in the South, from which he and his men had marched as a contingent in the Philistine army, which was preparing an attack upon Saul. But, naturally, the Philistine soldiers doubted their ally, and he was obliged to take himself and his troops back again to their temporary home.
When he came there it was a heap of smoking ruins. Everything was gone; property, cattle, wives, children-and all was desolation. His turbulent followers rose against him, a mutiny broke out-a dangerous thing amongst such a crew-and they were ready to stone him. And at that moment what did he do? Nothing. Was he cast down? No. Was he agitated? No. ‘But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’Right now, we are at a defining moment in history.
The enemy has many cowered in fetal positions and riddled with doubt and despair. Hear the word of the Lord today, “Do not faint in the day of adversity, but arise in Christian strength and courage!” “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and His glory will be seen upon you.”Isaiah 60:1-2 This is evidently addressed to the church, or to Zion regarded as the seat of the church. It is represented as having been in a state of affliction and calamity.
The church has been pressed down and is now called on to arise from the dust, and to impart to others the rich privileges which were conferred on her.If you are still here, God is not done. We are to show forth His glory and preach His Word of truth to a lost and deceived generation, even of those claiming to know Him. We do not accept the norm nor do we give in to the enemy’s tactics. God is good and He is faithful. The NT Christians flourished under the intense persecution of the Roman Empire. There is a separation taking place, be found on the right side of history. The German Christians were silent during the Holocaust and will answer to the Lord for their silent consent. Arise saint of God and encourage yourself in the Lord!
Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove, discerning the time and the spirit. All the enemy has to do is render you ineffective. Go through the fire and do not bow to the enemy. Anything that commands, forces, manipulates, coerces is of the same spirit that demands you bow before Nebuchadnezzar. Look to Jesus and keep building that wall with Nehemiah, building with one hand and a sword in the other. Fight the good fight and contend for the faith. God is not done with you, so you are not done. #runyourrace
To Learn More About Pastor Crystal please visit the Leadership Page