by Barb Dittrich, Executive Director of Snappin’ Ministries
I don’t know about you, but sometimes the size of the special needs mission field is so huge to me that I feel like I’m digging at a mountain with a teaspoon. Once I actually had to look down at the floor going into our local children’s hospital because there were so many people I saw who needed the hope of Jesus that it overwhelmed me. When statistics like the recent study results from the CDC claiming 15% of all children have some sort of special needs are published, it only adds to the vast population desperate for what we have to offer.
Ah, but those are the times God gently reminds me that He has it all under control. He works slowly and steadily, one life at a time, just drawing people to Himself in the way most effective for the situation. And when He chooses to use an average house-frau from the suburbs like me, He equips me with all that is necessary to accomplish His perfect will.
You see, the very talents that draw us into leadership positions can also prove to be a source of foolish pride and misguidance. My husband was stunned when our youth pastor recently confessed in a sermon that ministry was his “Tower of Babel” which he put before God and found self-aggrandizement in. I, on the other hand, know that the emotional framing of ministry in our minds is an every-day struggle for those of us who lead. We seem to stand on a seesaw between thinking it’s “my ministry” and feeling defeated that “I am not the person for this major job”. But both are forgetting where the power to do the work comes from!
This post was brought to my mind a number of weeks ago when I was reading 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 in my quiet time with the Lord. It reads, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (NIV) This fresh word from God renewed my spirit. It left me in awe that He never stops giving us that emotional lift that we need to face any task He calls us to. At the same time, He builds our character and fits us for our work. How could I not share this fabulous encouragement with every person who serves just like I do?
The fact of the matter is that we may be facing a mountain, but our God is bigger than that mountain. So if we are overwhelmed in our service, it is because we have turned our focus toward self and not the One who is actually accomplishing the work that we do. We are merely the tool. Our encouragement comes when we remember that we are small players magnificently used by a HUGE Lord. Ironic, but we gain more when we become less!
If you find yourself frustrated or overloaded in your ministry work, like I tend to from time to time, take heart! Even with an enormous, underserved population like those with special needs and their families, there is a larger hope. And it comes from the God of the impossible circumstances.