I came across a quote a while back from William Carey, recorded in April 1794, during his first year of ministry in India.
This day was tumultuous in its beginning, but was afterwards more calm. Yet a burden of guilt is not easily removed : nothing short of infinite power, and infinite goodness, can remove such a load as mine.
O that I had but a smiling God, or an earthly friend to whom I could unbosom my soul! But my friend is at a great distance, and God frowns upon my soul. O may his countenance be lifted upon me again.
Carey was expressing his feelings here, not writing good theology. His words reflect a servant’s struggle with sin and loneliness.
Everyone in ministry deals with both.
And you don’t have to travel around the world to meet these enemies face-to-face. They’ll come to where you are.
So what do you do when you’re losing the battle?
You turn to the God whose mercy never ends. Even if you’ve tried a thousand times before, you can still find grace in your time of your need.
And then you turn to one of the good people God has put in your life, and you “unbosom your soul.”
Most importantly, when you’re losing the battle against sin and loneliness, you stay in the fight until victory finds you.
Carey worked for three years before baptizing his first convert. And yet he stayed. By the end of his race he had translated the New Testament into several languages, planted churches and missionary training centers, and became known as the Father of Modern Missions. Today at least seven institutions of higher learning bear his name.
Losing a battle doesn’t mean you’ve lost the war. But quitting does. Stay in the fight until victory finds you.