I learned a valuable lesson. It wasn’t till someone from the a clinic in Los Angeles, CA confronted me. John Townson looked at me and said, “Dave, your wife is sick. She’s physically sick and she needs help and she needs it now and you’re not the cure all”. All of a sudden a light went on. One of the problem with athletes, is it takes a while for the light to come on sometimes. The light went on and I realized that I needed to allow my wife to seek the help she was needing so bad. You know what I did? I said, “OK, honey, you can go and I’ll even go with you to support you but remember, you’ve got the problem not me.” I had to make that perfectly clear because if I was going in to see a psychologist sitting next to her, she had the problem, I had my act together.
I want you to know that we made that decision three weeks before my arm was amputated. You don’t know how valuable it was for us to be in that counseling. Four months after the counseling began I went into my own depression, and boy, was that a smack in the face. All of a sudden God made me realize how I lacked the compassion and the sensitivity and the understanding that my wife was crying out for during those difficult times in our life. If there’s anything that I can express to you men tonight, is to know that it’s ok to be compassionate. It’s ok to be understanding. It’s ok to be sensitive. One thing I found out is that it takes more of a man to have those qualities than to be the jerks that we really are. Believe me I don’t want to stand here pointing fingers because every time I speak it always comes back at me. Whether you get the message or not, when I go home, I guarantee you, I’m going to treat my wife a whole lot better than I have.
I’ve learned some valuable lessons as we have gone through the valley of life. One of them that is so precious is that my wife and I are going through it together. We’re going to be there to support one another in any way we can. You know what’s so beautiful about God? He uses people to accomplish His work. You see, we were being told that to go to Christian counseling was secular. It was not good. It was not godly to go to Christian counsel. Christians, first of all, should not be depressed. Ladies and Gentlemen, I tell you this was coming from a church and it damaged us severely because it created an attitude in me that caused me to respond to my wife in the way that I did.
I share that with you because one thing has become very clear. There are many parts to a body, but in order for that body to function, all those parts have to work together. Everyone of those parts has to work together. If the pastor does not have the ability to counsel someone going through depression in a particular matter, it’s OK to seek help with someone who’s qualified. Why is it all the time we’ve got to look to pastors for all the answers? We put so much weight on those men that they end up burning out just like Jan and I did. There are responsibilities that other people are gifted with in being able to help us in the problems that we go through.
And so John Townsen and Henry Cloud are two very special people. Warren Summers from Canton, Ohio who counseled us for sixteen to eighteen months is a very special man because God used him as a vehicle to help us heal. Warren Summers took us to the Word of God for our healing. That’s what’s so important to understand. We’re able to define our problems and then go to the good book and understand where the healing can come from.
As we progressed down this trail it was so important for us to learn to lean on others. I was a pretty self sufficient kind of guy. As an athlete I was the one who went out there and pitched between the lines and I either made or broke that night depending on the kind of pitches I threw. In many ways, I felt the responsibility and the weight of whether or not we won or lost. I was in control of a lot of things, at least I thought I was. Very seldom would I look for help from other people.
As a matter of fact the one thing I couldn’t tolerate in people was weakness. You know what was so difficult for me to deal with? My own weakness. Because during that period of time I realized that I was a pretty weak person when I thought I was so strong. That was a valuable lesson for me to learn. It’s OK to be honest and to reveal those weaknesses. It’s then and only then as a Christian that we can say when I am weak then I am strong. It’s through Jesus Christ that we find our strength to live each and every day.
Another beautiful thing that has come out of this is understanding is not only the value of other people in my life, not only the fact that I’ve learned and I’m in process in being a more compassionate man, of being a more understanding man, being a more sensitive man, but another beautiful thing that I’ve learned about suffering is that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. You know what? It’s so that we might become more like Christ. What God does through the valleys of life is He shapes and molds us into the image that He wants us to be. He gives us the strength to endure.
As you’ve listened to my life story, my hope and prayer is that God has touched you’re heart in a very special way today. If He has I like to give you an opportunity to pray and invite Jesus to come in and live in your heart and to know that you will have life with Him for eternity. If you would like to pray right now.
Father in heaven ,I thank you so much for this precious gift that you have given, your Son Jesus Christ. As I come before your throne, I acknowledge that I am a sinner, separated from you because of sin in my life. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and live. Live and make all the difference in the world in my life. Give me the strength from this day forward to live for you. Help me as I go through life with all it’s struggles to live for you, Jesus. I thank you so much for what you have done for me. Amen.
If you have prayed that prayer you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are now a member of the family of God.
I would like to take a few more minutes to share with you how you can continue on your spiritual journey. I would encourage you to begin reading God’s Word daily, beginning with the gospel of John. If you don’t already have one you can receive your complimentary copy of the New Testament in modern English by writing or calling Life Story. The information is printed on the tape jacket. Second, I would suggest you find a Bible teaching church and attend there on a regular basis. Third, Pray and be open and honest with God. He knows what you’re going through. And finally, take the initiative to tell others about your decision to follow Christ.
Maybe you have listened and are not ready to make a commitment to allow Christ to be on the throne of your life. I challenge you to read the New Testament portion of the Bible and I encourage you to talk to someone about the questions you have regarding Jesus Christ.
Baseball has been an important part of my life but my first priority is my relationship with Christ. The things I’ve talked about today are important. I want you to know God really cares for you and me and our spiritual walk. Please call today. God bless you on your spiritual journey.