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?”
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.