The “Hound of Heaven” nips

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Francis Thompson described God, in his relentless pursuit of us, as the “hound of heaven.”  Little did I know, as I was busy doubting everything I had ever believed about God, that he was hot on my heels…

My husband knew I was struggling, I think that much was pretty obvious, but he had no idea that I was contemplating suicide.  I’ll never forget the look on his face, or the way his eyes filled with tears, when I told him.  Swallowing our pride, we made a phone call to our Area Director to tell him that we (or more specifically, I) were falling apart.  Having no idea what to expect, or how our boss would respond, we dialed his number because, at that point, we didn’t have anything left to lose.  I don’t think either of us were prepared for his reaction; overwhelming care and concern was all that our Area Director communicated to us.  He began to weep over the phone, and, together, we formulated a plan for me to get some help.  I think somewhere deep down my husband and I both expected to be berated for not being able to keep it together.  In that moment, when we made that call, we felt like failures, but our boss didn’t treat us like failures at all.  It was one of the first times in our lives where we felt valued for who we were, instead of for what we did or how we performed.

The first step that we came up with was to remove ourselves from the environment that had sent me on this downward spiral.  So we began the long descent from our mountaintop home down to Delhi, where we would take a plane to Thailand to rest and figure out what came next.  That Sunday, while we were in Delhi awaiting our flight, we went to the international church.  I don’t think I heard anything the pastor said that day.  I was sitting in the metal folding chair stewing in my anger, hurt, and frustration.  When he called everyone forward for communion I stayed in my seat.  I wasn’t interested in fellowshipping in the Lord’s suffering, because all I could think about was my own.  At the end of the service the pastor announced that he had seven copies of Disappointment with God, by Philip Yancey, to give away.  He said he would leave them on the step and anyone who wanted one could come take it.  I didn’t take one–but my husband did.  I didn’t know it at the time, but God was going to use that book to break through the hard shell I was crafting around my heart…

(to be continued)

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