Florida Christian School exists in an ever changing and diversifying community. As our school has grown, so to has the size and diversity of our student body and faculty. Along with that growth in number, has come the reality of the physical and spiritual demands placed upon the faculty and families of our ministry. This is often reflected in how many faculty members each year suffer from serious bouts with sickness and personal tragedy. This year is no different as we have had several on our staff endure physical challenges, while others have dealt with the loss of loved ones in their family and other personal tragedy. The same is true for the families of our students as throughout the year many situations have occurred which impact the students. All of these many issues impact families and place physical and emotional stress upon everyone involved.
The point is, if we as believers, seeking to serve God in our daily lives, are engaged in authentic ministry, which I believe means we are actively committed to communicating the truth of God’s Word to those we minister too, the result is that our enemy, Satan, who despises everything that we do, declares open warfare on us. This applies to our faculty and staff and to Christian families who sacrifice to keep their children in a Christian school. For this reason, each of us have to be totally assured that our calling to this ministry is of the Lord, and parents have to be thoroughly convinced of the importance of a Christian education for their children. If we do not have this assurance and are not convinced, Satan’s attacks will leave even the strongest person among us, disillusioned and disoriented, not to mention physically, emotionally, and even financially depleted.
Barry Bietzel wrote in his book, The Moody Atlas of the Bible, about the demands on the apostle Paul during his missionary journeys. Bietzel calculated that Paul traveled the equivalent of 13,400 airline miles and that he may have been shipwrecked even more than the instances described in the New Testament. His method of travel was walking, and the roads he traveled on were treacherous at best. Many Bible scholars believe that he may have contracted malaria or some other disease, which began to weaken his body physically as he continued his amazing journeys. The Bible limits the description of his travels, sometimes to a single verse, but in that one verse Paul may have actually walked for days and nights, sleeping on the ground and sometimes traveling during the night to reach a destination. But always the scripture indicates that when he arrived at his destination he immediately began to teach and preach the Word of God. Listen to what Acts 13:9-12 says about Paul’s arrival at Paphos after a long journey, “Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, said, “You are full of deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of righteousness, will you not to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? And now behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time.” And immediately a mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed when he saw what had happened, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord.” Paul was an amazing example for everyone who wants to display the power of God in their life. Even when he was weary, he was prepared to deliver a powerful message. The hardships he faced seemed to only intensify his determination to minister God’s Word. Paul was a person who didn’t know the meaning of the word “quit” when it came to serving the Lord and demonstrating his power to others.
In the middle of deep grief or failure or sickness, God, as He did with the apostle Paul, can come to us with what is perhaps the greatest ministry gift of all, the gift of weakness. It is learning that in our sickness and trials God shows us where our strength really is. It is in His strength alone. II Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 6:12.
So I encourage each of you to press on, even when you are tired, even when you are sick. We must understand the enemy, and his determination to destroy our families, our ministry, and our Christian school. We must refuse to give in to exhaustion and discouragement. We must allow our hardships to only intensify our service to the Living God, because we know that it is through our lives that the power of God is demonstrated to others.