Many years ago, one of my dearest friends moved away. It was a heart wrenching experience for me as we had spent so many hours together talking, sharing and having Bible study. How could this be God's will I wondered?
Over time and after many tears, I began to see that God's ways are not always our ways. I could see that perhaps I had depended on the friendship more than I had depended on the Lord which wasn't healthy for either of us.
Scripture advises us not to put all our expectations and hopes in our leaders (church, government or even in friendships) but in the Lord. Read 2 Corinthians 3:1-5: "Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. And such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God." What a beautiful passage of Scripture Paul has written! He is so correct to give all the glory, credit and honor to the Lord who made him adequate for the task he was given.
How sad that many Christians put their stock solely in their pastors, church leaders, or others rather than wholly in God. Our human nature tends to class leadership with a lordship position, but Jesus said if we would lead, we must first be a servant. We want to have strength from the Lord so that we can help Him with all His work here; however, God allows us to be weak so that our dependency is only upon Him and His power. We share with others our pedigree of accomplishments (degrees, areas of study, titles) so they will accept us more readily. Our Lord, instead, allows us to fall flat on our faces so that others can see that we can't do anything without Him.
We are attracted by magnetic personalities, intellectualism, boldness of will and sometimes the education that someone has obtained. But when we look to these things, all we are doing is making a human being the measure of all things which is humanism. It is also a form of idolatry. God will not tolerate this.
So God, in His infinite wisdom, at times will allow a leader to fall. It causes quite a shake up but both the leaders and followers alike need to learn that God alone is our sufficiency as the Apostle Paul so clearly points out. Paul did not come with letters of recommendation. Rather his credentials showed in the changed lives of the people at Corinth. His servanthood to them was written in their hearts which was far more important than a title, list of honors, or any outstanding miracles. They were a living testimony to his work among them. Yet, he boasted not in his own strength but in God's.
This is a lesson for all of us. In my case, I had come to depend on my friend more than the Lord. Are we still friends? Yes, even though we live a distance apart. Our hearts will always be joined in Christ. God has stretched both of us and helped us to grow in Him.