Francis Asbury was the first Methodist bishop consecrated in this country. During his 45-year ministry in America, he traveled on horseback 300,000 miles. He preached over 16,500 sermons. When he passed away, thousands of people attended his funeral.
But consider some things that Francis Asbury wrote in his journal about preaching: "Losing some of my ideas in preaching, I was ashamed of myself, and pained to see the people waiting to hear what the blunderer had to say."
"I preached to about eighty people. I was fervent but the people thought I must speak like thunder to be a great preacher.”
And one more: "I had very little life in preaching to a few dead souls." He was having a bad day, right? The great Francis Asbury faced days of struggle.
Preachers can get discouraged. So can police officers, teachers, social workers, medical professionals, retired people, technicians, students . . . and people in every situation and stage of life.
But there is a word of hope for us today. It is found in God’s word. The Apostle Paul said, “Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Ephesians 2: 19) According to tradition, he wrote these words from a Roman prison in 62 AD. Even in prison, he felt the presence of God so strongly that he said, “Do not be discouraged.”
May this be a word from God to us today. Whatever struggles life is throwing at us today, let’s stand strong because of God’s presence all around us and inside of us.