Pastors come in different varieties which is why the term pastoral conjures different ideas in the minds of different people. A pastor is like the hand that is placed in the glove of a ministry position which then leads to that glove taking a certain shape of the pastor’s strengths, abilities, and spiritual gifts. Over time, if the partnership between a pastor and a congregation endures, that pastor will also be shaped by the needs and demands of those whom God has called them to shepherd. And if both that pastor and that congregation are particularly blessed by God, the breadth of the needs and demands of a growing congregation will be attended to by pastors rather than the unrealistic expectation of them being met be a pastor. But there are times when a pastor is called upon by the broader community to care for that broader community in those times of severe adversity resulting from some tragedy. Floods, bush-fires, transport disasters (air/sea/road), military incidents, famine, are just some broader community demands for pastoring that come to mind as examples. More often than not, the type of person that God equips to enter these tragedies is one who has been shaped by God through having to deal with their own tragedies. In these instances the pastoral glove takes the shape of a chaplain. A chaplain’s principal function is comfort. In writing to the Corinthians after a particularly painful series of events, the tragedy-seasoned apostle Paul was able to comfort those he was ministering to because he himself had been the beneficiary of comfort from God through others.
Hurt people hurt people. We’ve all probably encountered a hurting person who hurt us. Perhaps we’ve even been the one doing the hurting. Being hurt hurts. Even the process to becoming healed of this hurt can hurt. And, because it is an unfamiliar hurt, even this longed for healing can create anxiety in some. This can result in the hurt person blame-shifting, withdrawing, and becoming highly critical. Because they then tend to repel others, this makes helping them really difficult. But it can be done. As Jesus demonstrated time and time again.
And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.
Some people have only ever known hurt and pain. From the youngest age they were the victim. They felt that all they ever deserved was rejection, betrayal, and mocking from those who should have most shown them acceptance, loyalty and affirmation. For these people, wholeness doesn’t exist and is not possible—until they witness it in someone else. Then they see what it can look like. This is what happen to the woman who had been haemorrhaging for twelve years. She had lost all hope. But then she began to hear the almost unbelievable stories of Jesus had done for others, and hope was rekindled. The first step toward wholeness for a broken person is a vision of what the pathway to wholeness looks like. For this broken woman it was getting close to Christ and then reaching out to Him. What she didn’t know was that Christ came near to her and invited her to be made whole.