Through the years, I have done my fair share of counseling. The truth is this: It is not my favorite aspect of the ministry. I groan silently when I hear of someone becoming a counselor or actually majoring in counseling in college. Doesn’t that sound cold hearted and distant coming from a missionary… even worse from a pastor’s wife?
I don’t get down on myself too much because each person has her own gifting, and all the tools God gave us to show His glory are varied and needful.
Another truth: As long as there are people in this world, the need for counseling will never cease. I have settled that. So at one time or another, as a disciple of Jesus–you don’t even have to be in the ministry–you will find yourself in the hot seat of “counseling.”
Recently, I tried to analyze why I really don’t like to counsel. It was sort of hard to figure out because like to listen…. so that wasn’t the problem. In fact, much of my time with others is listening. Pastor’s wives are used to this. But the more I contemplated the problem, the clearer it came to me. It seemed to me that people really never changed that much during the counseling process… maybe some… but not ever dramatically. I always felt like I had wasted my time, until I changed my methods.
When someone is deeply troubled, working through grief and heartache–and believe me the deep issues that people deal with are so real and the pain so off the charts somtimes– but still… there comes an end to talking and to offering advice and direction.
Words and thoughts stop. There comes a time when the heart has been fully poured out. At that point, I try to fill up the emptiness with guidance, wisdom, hope from God’s Word… and the person would leave and then come back the next week at the same point…
But now, when the words stop, we both fall on our knees and start crying out to God for intervention… true intervention from heaven. God hears and moves when he hears the fervent prayer of the righteous. Nothing moves His heart like that flaming desperation. When people stop pouring out to counselors and start pouring out to God, He answers.
Oh I am not against counseling. I have found it valuable in my own life at times, but the most strides that I have made in just plain growing up has been when I fall on my knees and ask God for help, plead for God to change and have mercy on me. He is always speedy to encourage and lift the darkness, even if the situation does not change.
Another aspect of counseling that I consider very important now is from I Thessalonians 4:16-18.
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first.
Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord!
Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.”
“Comfort and encourage one another with these words.” Often a counselor’s words are not these… they may be biblical, good, and wise… but not these.
This is the bottom line: One day this life will be over–the heartache and disappointment and strife and worry. Jesus will rescue us literally from the ravages of this place.
He will shout a command to call us home.
And I imagine that when He shouts that command all of heaven–the witnesses, the patriarchs, the angels–all those anticipating our arrival will echo his shout! Their echo will resound from the depths of their spirits…
Imagine the thundering sound… the triumph… in a twinkling! Imagine the blast of the arch angel and God’s own trumpet vibration.. the sound the Bride of Messiah been waiting upon for thousands of years… Now I wish Hollywood would make a movie of that glorious event! That is exact;u what keeps us pressing on in hope.
Everyone needs an escape route, and this is mine when the time comes…