Robert Murray McCheyne – 1st pastoral letter: pain & pastors

The clock read 4:11.  The numbers were unforgiving in their message that I had tossed and turned long enough and my day was about to start.  I tried rolling over, but my mind was already beginning to kick in gear.  I was doing the math in my head as I calculated the time it had been since my last pain pill.  Yep, that explains why I was awake…and the pain in the hip.  I decided that rather then keeping others awake by my tossing, turning and sighing, that I would begin the day.  When I arrived at the office and was waiting for my computer to boot up, I picked up my copy of the “Memoirs of McCheyne”.  I started to read his first pastoral letter which he was writing to his church in the midst of his own physical affliction.  I’ve copied a portion below for you to read as well:

You remember what Paul, when he was a prisoner of the Lord, wrote to the Philippians (1:12), “I would that ye should understand, brethern, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather for the furtherance of the gospel.”  I am very anxious that you and I should understand the very same, in the things which have happened unto me, that we may vindicate God in all His dealings with us, and “not despise the chastening of the Lord.”  I know too well that there are many amongst you who would feel it no grievance if all the Lord’s ministers were taken out of the way.  Ah! how many are there who would rejoice if they were forever left to sin unreproved, and to do what was right in their own eyes!  Still I am quite sure that to you, “who have obtained like precious faith with us,” to you who are the Lord’s people, the present is a season of affliction, and you feel, as Naomi felt, that the hand of the Lord is gone out against us.  My present object in writing to you is shortly to persuade you that “it is well” – “the Lord doeth all things well” – and that it may be really for the furtherance of the gospel among you.  In many ways may this be the case.

First, with respect to myself.  It does not become me here to show what benefit it may be to me.  Suffice it to say that it has been a precious opportunity in which to reflect on the sins and the imperfections of my ministry among you.  A calm hour with God is worth a whole lifetime with man.  Let it be your prayer that I may come out like gold, that the tin may be taken away, and that I may come back to you, if that be the will of God, a better man, and a more devoted minister.  I have much to learn, and these words of David have been often in my heart and on my lips, “I know that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” (Ps.119:75)  Ministers are God’s tools for building up the gospel temple.  Now you know well that every wise workman takes his tools away from the work from time to time, that they may be ground and sharpened; so does the only-wise Jehovah take His ministers oftentimes away into darkness and loneliness and trouble, that He may sharpen and prepare them for harder work in His service.  Pray that it may be so with your own pastor.

Yes.  Please pray that it may be so with your own pastor.  A quick update on my back: the pain I am currently experiencing is some pretty significant “burning” nerve pain.  The pain medication that I have been prescribed is not coming close to touching it and I am finding that getting adequate rest, even with prescribed aids, is getting harder to achieve.  I’ll be calling the doctor today to see if anything can be done to help in this between now and my next treatment of injections which is at the end of this month.  I appreciate your prayers.  Thanks!

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2 thoughts on “Robert Murray McCheyne – 1st pastoral letter: pain & pastors

  1. Praying for you this morning brother. I just happened by your blog from another link and read of your pain.

    May God give you some relief and the ability to concentrate through the pain today.

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