MY FAVORITE VERSE!
HE MUST INCREASE BUT I MUST DECREASE. JOHN 3:30
I’m a pretty ordinary guy. Small town, small family, small schools, small car, Big God. What I mean by that is the most remarkable thing about me is not me. It’s God – the one Big in my otherwise small life. But I suppose you want to know more than that.
Ok, here we go. I’m a Christian man in my 50’s. I spent about twenty five of those years in youth or pastoral ministry. All in small churches (does that surprise you). I worked full time jobs or owned businesses nearly the entire time I was ministering. Mostly small companies (yep, I like small). I failed a lot, mostly small failures (that might be me being too kind to myself). Those failures stacked up high like too many poorly arranged bricks.
Those bricks all fell down one day. BIG crash when lots of failure falls at once! All the bricks seemed to slam one by one on my heart. It happened when God used a series of events to strip my soul naked and show it to me. My wife left and a divorce followed. A friend told me that I was totally disconnected. I discovered that I had been bitter and angry for years, and arrogant, and selfish, and the list goes on. It was my ‘dark night of the soul’. I don’t recommend it.
I survived it because God dragged me through it. I didn’t kick or scream but I cried a lot and didn’t sleep well for a long time. I hated each day but I truly despised the nights. Awful, lonely. It’s terrible when the only company one has is the person God shows him in the mirror. You might call it depression but I call it discipline. God disciplines every one of his children. And it was my turn.
Fast forward to today. I learned a lot from the exposure to my own soul. So I write about it. I’m hoping someone else might avoid learning the hard way if I can say things that might touch them. I don’t usually like to revisit the past but I regularly do so I can share it. And I share with the hope that it will encourage those who are striving to touch God, or be touched by Him.
The single most important lesson I learned (and am still learning) through my experience is that the promises in the Bible are not just interesting academic exercises. They are living, active, and tactile – I can feel them. God promises to restore and redeem bad people. He did that for me. He promises to forget my sin. He did and helps me continue to accept His forgetfulness. He also promises to bless people who let Him break them. He does bless me every micro-minute of every day. Math doesn’t have a formula to calculate the number!
I’m different than the guy who was stacking up bricks. I know myself better, how black my heart can be, so it’s easier to cling to Jesus. As long as I stay small and He, big, then my soul is at peace and I can serve others. It’s a great way to be.
On top of that He’s given me a new wife (who is truly the girl of my dreams), a new family (ten kids between us), a new ministry (or two), and much more. I’ll be expanding on all of this in my blog and books and speaking engagements. If you like hearing Big things about our Big God then stay tuned to this small man.