“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.

By David E. Ficken, pastor and emergency services chaplain

If you want me to?

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Is. 43:2 NIV)

As Christians, we embrace, while not always willingly, God’s rule and reign over our lives.

We know and believe that He is in control.

We also hold to a theology of suffering, which gives us a different understanding of our situation than the world would give.

We are able to do this only through faith because God is there with us in the valleys of life.

We certainly do not believe that God just messes with people for the fun of it.

Some paths may be for correction, or training, others are what they are, if you will, results of a world groaning for Jesus to come again.

None of these do we really, willingly sign up for!

I love the song, “If You Want Me To” by Ginny Owens because it sums up not only the life of a Christian facing hardship but also the life of a chaplain.

Chaplaincy is a calling in which one knows they are going to get into the muck and mire of life pretty quickly.

Chaplains regularly walk with people when they are confronted with the worst that anyone could experience.

A chaplain is constantly checking in with their own beliefs and theology to best let God be God, allowing Him to shine, working on them and through them.

Perhaps you have experienced a similar reality in your church work context.

The worst can be really, really bad.

Saying, “If you want me to” to God can be scary.

Am I crazy? Am I completely out of my mind?

Sometimes I find myself in a valley wondering if I want to be used by God.

How about you? How are you doing? Where are you in regard to this difficult subject? Are you in a valley or plodding along?

Is part of your work holding someone’s hand as they journey through a portion of life that no one should have to go through?

This is difficult work.

Brother and sister, please take comfort — God suffered to show you His love!

In Christ Jesus, we know a loving God Who has suffered to show His love for me and suffered to show those I care for.

This does NOT make everything simply work out all nice, neat, and clean.

It does not bring a loved one back from the dead following a horrific disease or accident or tragedy. It does not make chaplaincy or any church work easy.

It DOES give us a foundation upon which we can find footing in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 43:2 avoids easy it-will-be-OK caregiving.

God reminds us with this passage of His presence, and He brings opportunities to share this passage with people very much needing a reminder of His loving care.

Lord, Father, Spirit, strengthen us, give peace and courage to each of your workers today, through Jesus Christ, our Savior. In His name we pray, Amen.

“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” devotions and prayers will be released Monday mornings on the LCMS Facebook and Twitter pages. Church Worker Wellness devotions will also be archived online.

LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to workerwellness@lcms.org.