If you read the excerpts from Chapter 1 of my book Why? Answers to Weather the Storms of Life, you know that when I faced cancer, I thought my life was over. And I feared my ministry was, too.
Chapter 2 is the story of how God began slowly teaching me how that was a lie Satan was tempting me to believe.
God can use anyone, even when we’re going through trials. In fact, He may have placed you in that particular trial specifically so you could minister to another person going through a similar situation!
That’s what happened to me in my weakest moment. I lashed out at God … but He lovingly forgave me and showed me I was still useful to Him.
I hope this excerpt from Chapter 2: “My Weakest Moment” is an encouragement to you. And if you would like to read the entire book, you can order your copy today for just $8.99. You’ll also receive access to a free devotional and discussion guide to help you as you search for answers in your own storms.
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It was 6 p.m. on a Sunday evening. My family had, once again, gone to church without me. I was not healthy enough to go with them but sat at home alone, discouraged and depressed.
I was listening to the radio broadcast of our church’s Sunday evening service when I became frustrated and angry. I reached over, turned off the radio, and walked to the kitchen to find something to sooth the pain in my throat — pain from radiation burns. All I found was milk, and that made me even angrier.
I slammed the refrigerator door, looked at the ceiling, and shaking my fist as if I were shaking it in the face of God, I blurted out, “God, I can’t stand this another minute!”
Immediately, I realized what I had done. I had lashed out at God. I felt so guilty and embarrassed; it truly was my weakest moment.
I slowly shuffled my way to my office and sat down in my chair. I just stared at the wall. I had never felt more alone in my entire life.
Finally my eyes caught the title of a book on the shelf — Depression. A pastor in Oregon who had suffered a nervous breakdown wrote it. He told how he dealt with the depression that accompanied the breakdown. Everything within me screamed, “You need to read this book now!”
I had never read it. Why read a book on depression if you aren’t depressed? It seemed to me that type of book would tend to depress a “normal” person. But I really felt like I needed to read it right then.
I realize that depression is a serious disease in itself and many times there are physical causes, so I’m certainly not suggesting that all a person needs to do in the face of depression is read a book. But God wanted me to read that book that night.
I read the entire book in one sitting and was encouraged by the author’s transparent odyssey through the depths of depression. I gained strength from the many verses of Scripture he used in telling his story. In fact, I took out an index card and wrote down the references.
On the other side of the card, I wrote down the steps the author took that delivered him from depression.
When I finished reading and making my notes, I was so convicted that I slipped to my knees and humbly asked God to forgive me for my angry outburst. I prayed for forgiveness for my “pity party” and asked for God’s much-needed help.
I stayed up even later that evening, thinking about what I had read. When I finally fell asleep, there was peace.
The next day, I felt a little better. My wife urged me to get out of the house for a few hours. She suggested I go to the office, check my mail, and then come home if I did not feel well. Like a good husband, I did.
I was not in my office for five minutes when my assistant at that time, Becky Traeger, called me. “There is a pastor on the line who would like to speak with you,” she said. “He said it is personal and urgent, but he won’t give his name. Do you want to take the call, or would you like for me to take a message?” Reluctantly, I said I would take the call.
I’ll never forget his opening words. “I am suffering from acute depression,” the pastor said. “Can you help me? I would rather not give my name, if that’s all right.”
He told me his story, and I listened. Then I remembered the index card in my shirt pocket. I pulled it out and shared verses from the Bible. It was exactly what he needed to hear. I turned the card over and shared principles and steps that he needed to take to get out of depression. About 30 minutes into the conversation, he asked me, “How do you know so much about this?”
I wanted to tell him that I had a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, but that wouldn’t have been the truth and it was a serious conversation. Instead, I said, “Let me tell you what happened to me last night.”
I told him about my weakest moment. When I finished, we were both weeping. He promised that he would seek professional help, then we prayed and said goodbye. To this day, I don’t know his name.
When I arrived back home, I told my wife what happened, and she said, “See, there are other ways to preach, and God can still use you!”
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Click here to order your copy of Why now and continue reading.
As you do, remember that no matter what you are going through right now, God can still use you, too. He has a perfect plan for you — storms and all. Never forget that.