The invitation came to speak at a national conference in Kansas City. The topic was “depression in the ministry.”
I did not want to. I tried to switch the topic to “The Holy Spirit,” but the leader wanted depression. That meant a lot of reading, notes, and thought on my part—about a months worth of work. So I dug into it.
I taught two sections on it. About fifty persons in each session.
Then I came home not really knowing how it went. Two weeks later Charles called from South Carolina. He was in the class, wanted to fly up in his light airplane to talk. Thus started a good friendship.
Then Bill called from Kentucky. He played ball for Duke in the 1960’s, was a lawyer and he struggled with depression. He came for a weekend and a Duke game. We have been friends since.
That was 1988.
This last autumn at a national conference a female staff told me she was in that class on depression. And she brought her father who was not a Christian. After the week he took a year to read the Bible through and then gave himself to Christ. She “just wanted” me to know.
When you’ve been in ministry 54 years as I have, the Lord sometimes lets us see what he has been doing…and it is marvelous in our sight.
Three men wonderfully blessed in the hard words of a breakout session that I really didn’t want to do. And yet another lesson that, as scripture says, “He is able to do exceedingly far more abundantly than all we ask or think.”
Believe me, every time I rise to teach I think of all the quiet things God was doing in that 1988 session and I know.