The Day My World Wanted To Crash, But Couldn’t.
I sat on the side of my bed with our house phone against my left ear as I listened to my Dad’s voice. Tears were standing at ready in my eyes, just waiting for any reason to start flowing. It had been one of the worst days of my life.
I was already dressed for my Wednesday night Bible Study. The clock told me that I had only five minutes remaining before I needed to leave for church.
The sound of my Dad’s voice was the best medicine for my mind and soul at this moment. I didn’t tell him what the problem was, but he was very sharp and intuitive. He was a pastor in Sulphur, LA.
For the last eight hours or so I had sat in my pastor’s study at South Bend’s Christ Temple Apostolic Church trying to prepare for the service. Nothing seemed to make sense for me. Even with over 7,000 books in my library, I couldn’t seem to find anything that would prompt me. I read many chapters in the Bible and nothing stood out.
Well, to be honest, I focused primarily on me. I had felt like crying all day and I didn’t know why. I had the most wonderful wife and children a man could ever hope to have. I pastored a church full of people I loved and they were all so good to me.
I tried praying and was grateful for a legitimate format for me to open up and cry in. What was the deal? What was wrong with me? Was I going through some mid-life crisis at 40 years old? I didn’t know.
Was I being overly hard and harsh on myself? Was I crying tears of disappointment because of un-achieved goals and dreams? I was afraid to think too long about that.
Who could I call and vent to? Who’s shoulder would be broad enough? I could think of no one that I wanted to burden down with my heavy load of negative feelings.
Was I out of the will of God? Was God dealing with me about something? Who knew? My self-pity was working overtime.
Even then as I sat on the side of the bed looking at the blank wall, things still weren’t making any sense. I have no memory of that ten-minute conversation of unimportant and mundane things until I said I had to go.
I had spent most of the time listening to my Father talk while I held the mouth piece of the old beige phone up high over my head in case I accidentally sniffled. I couldn’t let Dad hear me cry.
“ I gotta run Dad.” I finally said as I looked at the bedroom clock.
“I need to leave here in five minutes but I want you to know I love you and miss you.”
Then came the words that would turn my world around that night.
“I love you too son,” Dad said. “Remember this. Psa. 46:1 says that God is our refuge and strength. Don’t you ever forget that.”
I thanked him for that word, told him again that I loved him, said goodbye and picked up my Bible. As I walked out the backdoor, I looked up the Scripture passage and marked it with a ribbon.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
I visited the prayer room. No Biblical illustration came to mind that could even remotely connect that verse for me. My mind was blank. I really didn’t want to preach that night, and besides, I had nothing to preach. I was a mess.
I sat in my chair on the platform later listening to the prayers and praise of the good saints. I’m sure the worship was wonderful as usual, but I was just going through the motions. My mind was still searching for a character to illustrate the verse. What was I going to do? I didn’t know.
Finally, it was time for me to step to the pulpit. I made a few announcements and read Psa. 46:1 to the congregation while they still remained standing. When I finished, I invited them to be seated.
I announced my sermon title for the evening message. “God Is Our Refuge.” Then, I closed the Bible because there was nothing else there in the verse that could help me.
As soon as I said that God was our refuge, I was reminded of the fact that Job had a hedge around him that was placed there by God and Job didn’t even know it existed.
I pulled a folding chair up for me to sit in while I demonstrated the point. Then the word Hedge stood out to me. So I gathered several chairs around mine into a circle hoping to make a visible hedge.
I looked at the crowd and in a spirit of transparency said. “I don’t know if I am preaching tonight to you or to me. If I am just preaching tonight to me, you might as well go on home now, and I will do the same when I finish preaching this sermon.
My mind has no remembrance of what I said next or how it happened. In about three minutes, the saints began to worship and weep. I wept along with them. Then they began to shout and dance in the Holy Ghost. I shouted too. It became one of the most precious moves of the Holy Ghost we had enjoyed in many years. The service ended with victory in the camp and in our hearts.
There were no sermon notes for later reference, no recordings of the message. It was just a God moment. It was a gift from the Glory World.
I was privileged to understand more clearly what Paul meant when he said to Timothy that by preaching, he would save himself and them that heard him. It happened to me that night.
We all went home with Holy Ghost smiles on our faces. My heavy emotional load had been lifted. That verse came alive just for me, if for no one else. I willing claim it, quote it and stand upon it to this day.
That Was The Day The Day My World Wanted To Crash, But Couldn’t. Because God Truly Was My Refuge.
He’s Your Refuge Too! And In The Words Of My Late Father… “Don’t You Ever Forget It!”