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The Pastor Who Ran Away

Kevin Martin was a minister at a massive church—but one of those churches where it got too burdensome. The administrative machine ate him up, and his world was blackened with depression. At one point he was so depressed, so crushed, that he hastily wrote a letter to his board, immediately resigning from office, and then wrote a letter to his wife and his children saying he would never see them again.

Kevin got in his Buick and drove up to Newfoundland, Canada, without anybody knowing where he was. He got a job as a logger. It was winter. He lived in a small metal trailer, heated at night by a small metal heater. One night, when it was 20 below, the heater stopped working. In a rage, Kevin went over to the heater, picked it up with both his hands, and chucked it out the window—then realizing that was a stupid thing to do, for it was 20 below.

He throws himself on the ground and starts pounding the floor of this small metal trailer. As he’s pounding on the floor, he is yelling out to heaven, “I hate you! I hate you! Get out of my life! I am done with this Christian game. It is over!” He went into a fetal position.

Kevin writes, I couldn’t even cry. I was too exhausted to cry. As I laid there, I heard crying, and heaving breaths, but they were not coming from me. Instead, in the bright darkness of faith, I heard Christ crying, and heaving away on the Cross. And then I knew, the blood was for me: for the Kevin who was the abandoner, the reckless wanderer, the blasphemer of heaven. And then the words rose up all around me: ‘Kevin, I am with you, and I am for you, and you will get through this. I promise you.’

Kevin rose to his feet, got into his car, sped back home, and reconciled with his family and his church. And then went on to lead that church in a healthy way.

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