Several years ago, I attended a camp conference which focused on the theme: Keep Watch. I flew from the middle of the country to the West Coast, spending almost seven hours traveling to Seattle. Meeting old friends, getting settled, eating lunch, and walking the trails kept me busy until the conference began with dinner.
By 8:00 p.m. I was fading fast, having been awake for almost 18 hours. As not only my eyelids grew heavy, my arms and legs did too. I decided there was no reason to continue to try to stay alert so I gathered my things, left the meeting, and settled into bed. I was not sleepless in Seattle. I enjoyed a good nine hours of sleep.
Our time of worship and devotions the next morning talked about keeping watch with expectancy – waiting for the Lord’s return. However, I was struck by the fact that the night before, I was so tired that I was unable to keep watch. I needed to rest. In the same way, there are times in our spiritual lives when we become exhausted as well. How do we “keep watch” during those times? Perhaps the command to keep watch is not meant just for ourselves. Perhaps we are to keep watch for others, especially our brothers and sisters who are too exhausted from trials and fiery darts to keep alert to the dangers and opportunities surrounding them.
People in ministry, especially pastors and their wives, are on the front lines of the battle. They are closest to the area of conflict and are strategic targets of the enemy. They encounter direct attacks from the enemy more often and more consistently than many of us do. We need to keep watch for them as they endure the attacks. We need to be their support.
Jesus gives us an example of this when He took Peter, James, and John into the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:38 NASB) “Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Of course, the three fell asleep showing us how not to keep watch. In His hour of need, Jesus wanted others interceding and keeping alert with Him.
Shouldn’t we be doing the same? Shouldn’t we put on the full armor of God – not just to protect ourselves but to also protect our fellow soldiers? Shouldn’t we use our shield of faith to help deflect the fiery darts hurled at our struggling friends – offering a shoulder to cry on, praying for healing, strength, protection, and wisdom, sending a note of encouragement, forgiving, holding, surrounding, caring? As a fellow believer, a fellow soldier, how can I stand by and watch someone struggle without offering protection? When I see my brothers and sisters struggling with sin, struggling with trials, how can I not fall on my knees and intercede for them?
How can you “keep watch” for your pastor’s wife today?
“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
I Thessalonians 5:8-11
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