For Years/Four Years
By Anthony Casperson
Wow. Four years, huh?
Four years of Brushstrokes of a Theonerd. Last week we celebrated the 200th blog post. The week before that was the 100th sermon for the website. (Taking only two weeks off a year makes that sort of synchronicity happen, I guess.)
And to think that it came about because one night early in July 2015 my heart started racing, each breath took great effort and concentration, and I wondered if that was the night I would die in my failure of a life.
That very first panic attack (which would be followed by months of nearly daily panic attacks) came about because of a perfect storm of problems at a precise moment in my life. But mainly it was an effect of thinking how my life wasn’t going the way I’d thought it would. For years it seemed that the ministry to which I was called by God kept moving further away from my grasp.
Bible college and seminary trained, but stuck in a retail job. Attempts at ministry ended in failure. My longest-lasting leadership position in ministry (up until that time) had a brief interruption in it as a person (called “the savior of the youth” by the lead pastor of the church) took over the youth leader position, until a couple of months later when he felt homesick and moved away. When I was in seminary, the person in charge of internships flat out told me that he thought I didn’t have what it took to be a pastor. And while I had a church planting organization leader tell me that they would give me the silver platter of everything I needed to start a ministry, it was with the stipulation that I had to drop one of my primary passions when it came to ministry, which I couldn’t do.
I was a failure in my calling, it seemed. Failures, false starts, and dismissals. For years. No wonder I had a panic attack.
But if you would have told me, when I was laying in the hospital bed for those few days as they tried to figure out what was going on with me, that God would use this terrible and frightening moment in my life to move me to a ministry, I would have told you it was impossible. If you would have said that the pain and suffering of those next few months would lead to years of consistent ministry, it would have fallen on deaf ears.
All I could see was the failure. All I could feel was the pain.
But God could see much more than I could. He saw a ministry that would last for years. Four years now, but it’s not over yet. It’s now my longest-lasting ministry position. And will continue to be so as God uses the pain and rejection, which led to a panic attack, to drive forward a passion of showing his work in the midst of the difficulties of life.
It is the four year anniversary of this website, and life probably doesn’t look like how many thought it would right now. Perhaps there are many who are panicking. Many who find this a time of pain and suffering. Many who would scoff if they were to be told of God’s future plan for their life. Many who want to turn a deaf ear to hearing that God uses the difficulties of life to direct us exactly where he’s always intended for us to be.
I can’t promise that life will ever be perfect, or that suffering will end in this life. But I can tell you as a person whose been learning this for years, that the faithful God of the universe will work his perfect will even through these dark times.
That has been the message God has put on my (sometimes racing) heart for years. Four years.