them.too

I hate the weather in Colorado Springs. I am so glad we left. When it’s nice, it’s really nice. But the winters are long – too long. I joke about “June snows” being the reason why I wish to never return. But, in reality, it’s the winters. I’m generally a happy person, but I fought depression during every single winter. Depression loomed as a foreboding cloud, pulsing to overcome my spirit. With the Lord’s strength I survived these dreary winters – all except one – my dark night of the soul.

Wearied by the gloom of winter, the weight of my studies, and financial responsibilities, I found myself in a dark place – spiritually. My intellectual-self affirmed my relationship with my God, but I couldn’t sense His presence – at all. It was as if I were in a pitch dark room, so large that no matter how far I walked, I’d never find a wall.

I was at the edge of cursing Him. “I came here for YOU! I struggle for YOU! My family suffers for YOU! WHERE ARE YOU!”

During small group one evening, I shared my months-long struggle. A dear friend, in honest care said, “Herb, I understand that you’re feeling abandoned, but as you share, all I hear is ‘me, me, me’ – have you forgotten about your responsibility to others?”

Silence.

I hid it, but I was angry at him. “You’re my friend,” I thought. “How could you attack me like that when I NEED help?!?!”

10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11)

My friend’s honest words were the beginning of my recovery. Within all the “work” I had lost my passion for people. The reason God called me to ministry was not for me – it was for “them” – those who did not have a personal relationship with the Loving Creator. God used this dark time to show me what my life would be like without Him – what others are missing. “What about them? You are so concerned with how ‘miserable’ you are – but they live without Me. I love them too, Herb.”

Sometimes I forget that He sent Jesus for them too.

10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

10 thoughts on “them.too”

  1. Herb, I know about the weather. I guarantee that it’s worse here in Juneau with the added hours of darkness we endure. You have to have a lot of grace because there is a lot of depression, abuse, alcoholism, etc. I know though that God has overcome it all and we overcome through Him.

    Your story is very pertinent and important. I’ve heard a lot of “me, me, me” lately and I’ve engaged in plenty myself. God has equipped us to love and care for others and we find such fulfillment in expressing those things. Thank you.

  2. This really hits close to home. I’ve had the exact same conversation, but with my dad. I too was mad at him, but he was right. I’m really glad you shared this. I know it will help someone today.

  3. The truth told by an honest friend can be hurtful but such a blessing if we see it. I’m glad you’re human too. We need Him, they need Him too. I could say I’m praying now for you but then I would be lying because I have such a bad toothache right now and it’s almost 10 in the evening I can’t go to the dentist. I postponed it too many times. Have to make an appointment tomorrow morning. So maybe you can pray for me? How did this reply end like this? I stop now. Bye bye.

  4. I always have to remind myself when I start wanting to be restored and blessed that Job wasn’t restored until he prayed for his friends. Whenever we start feeling sorry for ourselves we tend to stop praying for and serving others which is the makings of the very wall that prevents the flow of grace into our lives. I find that the only way out of “the fog” is to “love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength, and my neighbor as myself.” As I serve others I discover in awe that I am being served, cared for, and loved by Jesus.

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