I am fortunate to have an upbeat personality with a natural sense of humor. This is due to genes inherited from my dad who enjoyed laughing. My two wonderful parents also cultivated my sense of humor by always encouraging me no matter what happened in my life.
As far as ever suffering deep depression, I can only remember one occurrence in my whole life, and that came from an unusual source: a Christian friend.
My friend handed me a book one night and said, “Check this out. I think you might enjoy it.”
I looked at the title, Deliverance and Inner Healing, and shook my head, but then I noticed the author’s name: John L. Sandford. He and his wife, Paula, wrote The Elijah Task, which was an early book on prophets.
“I am not sure about this book,” I said, looking through the table of contents.
“Well,” my friend said, “it shouldn’t hurt to check it out.”
“Okay, I’ll do that.”
If I would have listened to my inner man, I would not have taken the book, but I disregarded the inner turmoil within me. I instead trusted my friend who was a man of a prayer and also the author, who had written a book eighteen years earlier on a totally different subject.
The book lay on my desk for a few days before I opened it on that Saturday afternoon. After a hundred pages or so, I became so confused by the misuse of scripture to justify psychobabble and gobbledygook that I became depressed. It felt like a dark cloud had descended upon me.
I closed the book and decided to go for a walk outside in the autumn sunshine, hoping to clear my mind. All I could think about was how long it might take to set a few of my friends free from their issues if the book was accurate in its assertions. If so, then what about the millions of other Americans who needed deliverance and inner healing? And then what about the billions of people in foreign nations? It totally depressed me to think how the good news of Jesus and His delivering power had become so complex within the pages of the book.
I walked down the street, not even thinking about where I was heading at the time. My friend Dan happened to look out the window when I walked by his house. He felt something was wrong and ran outside to intercept me.
“Hey, Larry, wait up,” said Dan, hurrying to catch up with me.
“Hi, Dan,” I said through a deep fog.
“What’s wrong with you?”
We stood in the middle of a sidewalk under a large maple tree.
“I just read a book by John Sandford called Deliverance and Inner Healing. It has really bummed me out.”
“John and Paula Sandford? How’d you happen to get that book?”
“A friend suggested I should read it and loaned me his copy.”
“Well, your friend did not do you any favors by loaning that book to you,” Dan said. “Let’s walk down the street and I’ll tell you what I know about inner healing.”
We walked past an Iowa State University dorm and headed toward the football field.
“John and Paula Sandford were mentored for their inner healing and deliverance ministry by Agnes Sanford. She was clearly off base with her doctrines and more of a follower of Carl Jung who had a demon named Philemon guiding him in his work.”
Dan talked to me much like Jesus did to Cleopas and the other disciple on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. He used scriptures to set me free from the dark cloud hanging over me. When he finished, I was back to believing in the simplicity of the gospel, the power of Jesus’ blood, and the power of the Holy Spirit to set people free from whatever issues they might have in their lives.
(Excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who, an Amazon eBook.
Now these Jews in Berea were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11)
We believers must get past the idea of accepting teachings and doctrines from pastors, evangelists, teachers, apostles, prophets, friends, and others just on their words alone. We need to take the time to check everything out before we believe and trust in them.
If we don’t do this, we run the risk of being “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, and by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
What else do we need to do?
(Continued in Part 6)