Finding Jesus At McDonalds…. The Sequel (2016 Update)
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1: 7
I spent this last weekend in a cabin off of Torch lake in Northern Michigan with Janet and her girls. The weather was fair and very cool for August, but we still had a great time in and out of the water. The cabin had WiFi, but the signal was very poor. So I would trek 5 miles each morning to McDonalds to check my email and maintain my blog.
One morning, it was Saturday or Sunday I can’t recall, (When camping I lose track of which day it is and when you are in love with a woman like Janet you can lose all track of time) the Lord led me into a very excellent and profitable conversation with a middle aged fellow named Doug. I was very frustrated that morning because the WiFi reception there was very unreliable. I guess I must have appeared to be frustrated because Doug came over to my table and sat down kitty-corner from me and asked me if I was alright.
Right then I internally said a quick silent prayer asking Jesus to guide and bless the conversation I was about to have. We introduced ourselves and then Doug asked me what I was trying to do online. I told him I had a blog I needed to maintain and that led him to ask what my blog was about. I told him that it was about Jesus, The Body of Christ and how The Lord was helping me to overcome PTSD, related depression and other mental health issues from childhood sexual abuse.
Doug did not respond at first, but on his face was an expression of shock and awe. He then told me that he also suffered from mental health issues, but his experience with God and the “church” was “extremely” negative. This led to a 45 minute discussion in which we both shared our stories. The Holy Spirit definitely was moving strongly in both of our hearts and minds. Doug told me that the Jesus that he has heard preached in “churches” was not at all like the loving and accepting Christ that I spoke of. He went on to say that the other “Christians” he had encountered in and out of a “church” setting were all very cold and judgmental. When he opened up and shared with them his emotional and mental struggles he NEVER got a supportive, accepting or loving response. In fact they either said nothing and avoided further contact with him or they said he “must have” a demon. A few offered prayer, but overall he was just judged, looked down upon and rejected.
At that point I asked him to stand up and I got up and gave him a big bear hug. I told him he was loved and totally accepted by Jesus and The True Body of Christ. Then I spoke several minutes about the Love, Grace and total reconciliation that Christ has offered him and all mankind. I also mentioned that Jesus was The Truth and that The Truth would set him free and help him to overcome and cope with whatever issues, mental and otherwise, he might have. Right then Doug asked me to pray for him that he could be reconciled with Christ. Of course I refused, but I did agree to pray WITH him and that he could go first in his own words. It was a magical moment and the Spirit reigned supreme.
Before we parted ways Doug told me that he had never met anyone like me…so free and open about my mental health issues and how Christ and His Body had bridged every gap for me. To which I replied by telling him that I had never met anyone like him either and that I was blessed to have him as a true brother now.
Jesus won this time, but often times HE doesn’t because the average “Christian” out there does not know bumpkiss about mental health issues or relating to someone who has such difficulties. I feel that organic, simple, relational, home churches have a leg up on more traditional “churches” in this area because we encourage everyone to tell their story and participate in our gatherings. We should be praying for everyone who slips through the cracks due to mental or other issues that the institutions can’t seem to relate to or welcome.
Kirk Out !
p.s. I have read that over 85% of all people will suffer from depression or other mental health issues at some time in their lives. It takes a suicide of a famous person like Robin Williams to even pique our interest about such things I guess. Fact is we are ALL called by Christ to love our brother, even if that brother has issues we are uncomfortable with. Time to step up and BE THE CHURCH folks. People are literally dying because of the “Church’s” total apathy in regards to this important issue.
p.s.s. Continuing with the updates: I tried to contact Doug again today, but my e-mail bounced back saying that his e-mail account does not exist. I Have not heard from Doug in over 6 months and I am prayerfully concerned about him. We have exchanged several e-mails since last summer and last time I heard from him he was doing pretty well overall. He has still been participating in a small prayer and study gathering every other week that meets in homes and was not affiliated with any institutional “church”. Please pray for Doug to reach back out to me as I have no other way to contact him? This is the third time in the last 2 years that our e-mail connection has been broken. He is a precious brother with a very sweet spirit and servant’s heart. I will always remember that it was he who initially reached out to me that day at McDonalds. This brother needs our prayers.