You’re pouring your heart out. You preach like a man possessed (in a good way). You wax eloquent. And then it happens; you make eye contact with the one person in the crowd that can truly humble you – your spouse.
You can fake it with others, but not with her.
Possibly the most difficult part about being a preacher of the Gospel is that at least one of the listeners knows everything there is to know about you. I think God plans it that way. The great equalizer for many preachers is that their spouse knows better.
It is easy; very easy to impress some crowds. Say the right things in the right way with your best preacher voice and you can wow the crowds. But when someone siting there knows the intimate secrets of who you really are, that is another story.
Preach about faith; she knows your doubts. Preach about prayer; she knows your prayer life. Preach about integrity; and she may smirk (inside).
I think God plans it that way. To keep you humble…to stay real…God reminds you that, no matter what you say, one other person there besides you and Him knows your bathroom habits.
I think the toughest part of being a preacher is that my wife sits there, amening me, nodding her head and being supportive, but knowing full well all my flaws. And still she graciously receives the Word. Quite humbling, I must say! And good for us preacher-types, lest our arrogance get the best of us. Without these humbling realities, our heads would probably explode with pride. The way it is, it’s sometimes difficult to hold your head up while preaching when she’s in the crowd.
I’m thankful for grace from God and from my wife.
By the way, any preacher who won’t admit to this is either a liar or more spiritual than I am (which isn’t always saying much).
1) a container of metal or refractory material employed for heating substances to high temperatures.
2) a hollow area at the bottom of a furnace in which the metal collects.
3) a severe, searching test or trial.
Everyone has their cross to bear. My “cross” is the death of our child. On October 25, 1990, our world changed forever when our 4 year-old Jenna Nicole went to heaven after a battle with neuroblastoma, a rare but fatal form of childhood cancer. In the words of a friend who had lost his son 10 months earlier in a fire, “welcome to the fraternity that no one wants to join”.
This is my testing by fire, my crucible. This crucible shapes me and defines who I am as a man. It influences my opinions on most topics and creates passions in me that are otherwise unexplainable. Every day of my life is impacted by my crucible.
Another friend says that we passed the ultimate test. According to him, our test was a proving ground. I am not so sure that I have passed this test but I am in the process of passing it each day. The test is in holding my head up and staying positive and helping other struggling people. My wife and I take no credit for the strength we have, it is simply a gift of God’s grace that allows for our survival. We have learned to give our grief to God; to offer it to Him so that someone else may be helped. Pain that is held inside will rot the soul.
Your crucible is your own. No one can endure it for you. It is hot, for sure. It’s not fair to compare it to the crucible of someone else – no two crucibles are the same. But in Christ, you can stand up under it and survive. You can thrive through your crucible.
I Peter 1:7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (NLT)