“When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.” —Psalm 75:3
“Quaking” seems like a good word to describe the world and its people in this season. In Hebrew, this word connotes tumult and commotion—of being helpless, disorganized, agitated, and perplexed.
Many of us have also felt the church “quaking” throughout the pandemic disruptions and racial tensions of these past months. Many congregations and families are grieving losses of life, purpose, and relationship, and they will need a compassionate leader to walk with them in lament and lead them toward healing. Some churches are divided or diminished, looking for leaders to help their tired councils navigate conflict, reimagine ministry, mend, and unite in this ever-changing context.
As we present these candidates for ministry in the Christian Reformed Church this year, it is sobering to envision them entering these kinds of situations, for which no seminary could possibly have trained them.
The very thought of this challenge might make any of us quake! But the Lord steadies our hearts with these words:
“It is I who hold its pillars firm.”
Pillars were the supports that ancient peoples imagined holding up the earth above the chaotic waters below. In God’s design for the Old Testament temple, he included two pillars, named Boaz and Jachin—names that spoke of strength, stability, and God’s promise that he would establish his people. These pillars served as a constant reminder to God’s people that it was God’s strength they must rely upon. In the present spiritual temple, built from the “living stones” (1 Pet. 2:5) of our own lives, we know that God continues to hold the pillars firm. God holds the church when it’s quaking and keeps it from descending into chaos. God promises to establish and uphold our work. And our hope for God’s kingdom to come through the church and its leaders is planted firmly in God’s strength, not ours.
Even the most gifted and experienced ministers don’t have enough strength to hold up under the “quaking” of our times. But as these new pastors, leaders, and chaplains go forward into the work of God’s kingdom, we trust that they will go in the strength of the Lord, which will empower them to bring his provision of truth, grace, healing, and leadership to God’s people. They are much like Gideon, whom God sent out feeling completely inadequate into the weakened ranks of a quaking Israel with the words, “Go in the strength you have. … Am I not sending you?” (Judg. 6:14).
The Lord is sending our candidates, and they will go into leadership in the mighty sustaining strength of the God who holds the earth’s pillars firm.
For contact information, biographical information, eligibility status, and testimonies from each candidate, visit the candidacy committee website at crcna.org/candidacy.