Waves of despair washed over his soul after indulging in yet another homosexual encounter. Ken decided he had had enough. Moments after tossing the handful of painkillers into his mouth, overwhelming drowsiness engulfed him. “I need to lie down,” the 500-pound man told himself as the darkness came.
Ken’s emotional life began deteriorating as an 8-year-old, after a male family member molested him. He turned to food to help him cope with something too painful to comprehend or express.
The next ten years were torturous. He hated what the man did to him and yet, as he came into adolescence, he found himself entertaining homosexual fantasies. Ken was miserable and full of fear. One day he admitted to his family that he had entertained thoughts of suicide. Not knowing what was happening or how to help him, they promptly sent him to a Christian psychiatrist who immediately put him on Prozac.
By the time he graduated from high school, Ken was a robust 350 pounds. Not only was he terribly addicted to food, but he now began having secret homosexual encounters on a regular basis.
Ken’s life was spiraling out of control. During his weekly counseling sessions, his psychiatrist would lend a sympathetic ear, but never seemed to have any answers for him. All he could offer was a weak system of managing his life. “Can’t God help me?” Ken almost pleadingly asked during one session. “He hasn’t helped you so far,” responded the psychiatrist. Taking his glasses off, he carefully set them on his desk. “Ken, you will be on this medication the rest of your life. It’s the only way you will be able to cope with the pain in your life.”
Even though his thoughts had become increasingly dark, he still held onto what seemed to be a remote chance that God could help him. Troubled by what his counselor told him, he decided to make an appointment with his pastor. He told the minister everything he had been doing in secret. The pastor actually liked Ken and had been considering him as a candidate for his board of deacons. In the hopes that it might encourage him, his pastor invited him to serve on the board. Ken was astonished; even he had the sense to know that he was not spiritually or emotionally fit to serve in such an important position.
Ken’s entire life was a mess. It seemed that everything he attempted to do ended in futility. It was a challenge just making it through each day. Life was a continuous drudgery of sin, remorse and hopelessness. He could see nothing ahead of him but darkness and misery. Not even the psychotropic medication could stifle his overwhelming sense of despair. Finally, having lost all hope, he attempted to kill himself by overdosing on painkillers.
Fortunately, he was discovered by a friend who rushed him to the hospital, where his stomach was pumped. Within days, Ken had applied to the Pure Life Ministries’ residential program.
He arrived an emotional wreck. His hopelessness and deep cynicism was obvious to everyone there. “I grew up in church and heard the Bible all of my life,” he remembers thinking. “Why should I believe anything will be different here?”
Nevertheless, Ken was out of options. The only answer his Christian psychiatrist could offer was Prozac—which temporarily numbed his pain but did nothing to change the problems that produced it. His pastor was clearly at a loss as to how to help him as well.
But he found Jesus Christ in a powerful way at Pure Life. Over the following months, he lost a hundred pounds, he quit using the medication he had been prescribed and began instilling spiritual and practical disciplines into his life. By the time he completed the program, he was a new man.
Ken’s story is a beautiful example of what God can do in a person’s life who is properly discipled. But his situation provokes questions. How is it that this pastor could invite onto his church board a young man so obviously out of control in every area of his life—including gross perversion? Clearly he lacked the conviction that his board of deacons should only be filled with godly men. And how is it that the only answer this Christian psychiatrist could offer to this troubled man was to get him addicted to psychotropic drugs? I think it is obvious that he simply lacked the spiritual wherewithal to offer any meaningful help to such a person.
If either of these men were truly walking with the Lord, they would have known how to help him. A godly leader would have been earnestly praying for Ken. He would have discipled the young man in the disciplines of the Christian faith. A discerning pastor would never put someone in Ken’s condition in a leadership position in his church. And anyone who truly walks with the Lord would not run to the medicine chest looking for help for someone in need; he would run to the Almighty.
The fact is the Church is rife with spiritual amateurs such as these and tragic stories like Ken’s are being played out by the tens of thousands on a regular basis in the American church. That is the apostasy.
In the Hands of Spiritual Amateurs,