Suffering

The rapid spread of the Gospel brings tremendous work and much suffering. If you think it’s all bliss and there are no crosses to carry, allow me to give a brief glimpse into the “light afflictions” I endured during the USS Barry Revival.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:17-18)

I had to arise at 3:30 a.m. to stand my watch in the propulsion engineering spaces. This was a four hour watch in temperatures which at times reached 100-1200F (38-500 C). That watch ended at 7:45 a.m., and then I worked a full day in the same engineering space. I then went back on watch from 3:45 to 7:45 p.m. Our nightly Bible study then went from 8 to 9 p.m. or later. I then had to give private counsel to new converts. This was followed by preparation for the Bible study we were to have the following night. This was a challenging schedule, working in hot temperatures each day for about 16 hours, tending to ministry tasks, then hopefully getting about 4-5 hours of sleep. My hours weren’t always like that, but it was common.

Benteng in the aft boiler room. August 1979
Chet in the aft boiler room.
August 1979

One morning after being woken up at 3:30 a.m. to go stand my watch, I distinctly remember swinging my feet out of my rack and onto the floor, then telling the Lord about the sleep deprivation I was experiencing and how hard the schedule was. I told Him:

“Lord, I sure am suffering for you!”

He immediately spoke back,

“You will suffer more!”

Little did I know that later in life I would experience far greater sufferings as I said goodbye to my children in the USA (the most painful thing I ever experienced), as my wife and I moved to serve on an island in a restricted-access nation, where the living standards and comforts of life were relatively few. The deep suffering in that environment took my wife and me to such levels of suffering that they cannot be described. There were times when we thought we would not be able to cope another day, but thank God, His grace and mercy sustained us!

Sometimes we pray for a great move of God, or for God to use us, but when He answers our prayers, we balk, and are reluctant to carry the additional burdens our prayers created.

For pastors and staff workers in churches, let me give you a little advice: If you want a nice soft comfortable life; if you are holding out until retirement; if you don’t want to have to deal with the burdens (and often chaos) a revival will bring:

  • Stop all the prayer for revival in your church.
  • Don’t permit small groups to meet for intercession.
  • Keep a close eye on the radicals who are always talking about revival.
  • Don’t open the pulpit to anyone who will stir the congregation up with expectations for a move of the Spirit of God.
  • Don’t invite ministers to your pulpit who will tell stories about what God is capable of doing now, or about what he has done in the past.
  • Pretend that all is well and put on a big smile, no matter how dismal the situation may be.
  • Employ “happy talk” in all your sermons, and expect it from the teachers in the classrooms.

If you take my advice, I guarantee your pastorate and church will be calm and your comfort secured.

Go Back to Table of Contents…………………………………………………Go to Next Chapter

This post was written by
Comments are closed.