Things are most trying when the Gospel is at work in a congregation. Did you ever notice that? When the Gospel is being taught clearly, and the Sacraments are administered rightly, Satan unleashes all he can to fight it off.
The parish I served as a seminary student had been making a great turn around. From a dying, mostly white congregation (perceived as exclusive and unwelcoming) in a neighborhood of 90% or more of other backgrounds, the church was reaching out with the Gospel to their neighborhood. The Sunday School and a mid-week program were thriving. Children were picked up for church, even when parents did not come. The love and forgiveness of Christ was being brought to dozens of new kids and their families!
The devil hates this. And wouldn't you know it, things started happening. The church van that picked kids up suddenly had a flat tire. The church steeple was struck by lightening. There were attempted break-ins at the church office. The 100-year-old building was having its share of problems. Yes, all of these are typical in our fallen world, but the timing suggested that we were under attack by the prince of this world.
Right now, it is feeling that way here. The Gospel is being taught purely and clearly to our school kids and our parish. The sacraments are rightly administered. Jesus Christ is being proclaimed in our Lutheran congregation!
But Satan is at work too. He attempts to divide people, setting up "sides," and planting suspicions. He encourages feelings that others don't understand or care for us, even when it is not true. He gives nudges to send us down spirals of depression or spinning upwards into whirlwinds of anxiety.
Fight the good fight. Pastors, deliver those Holy Gifts! And laity, receive them with the greatest regularity! And respond to those Gifts by praying without ceasing, friends. Pray for the success of the Gospel, and for the hindrance of every plan of the devil!
Don't give in to the anxiety or depression, or else he wins. Your refuge is in Christ, who has conquered Satan. Have no fear, little flock, your Good Shepherd is victorious over that big, bad wolf!