In Psalm 42:7 David was running for his life. His son, Absalom, had taken over Jerusalem. It is very possible that he also wrote about the valley of the shadow of death in Psalm 23 during this time. He asked his soul why it was so depressed. I could have told him he had good reason—he was tired, hungry, scared and broken hearted by his son trying to kill him. But in this depression, the depth of God was calling to the deep parts of David.
I just came through a depression. They found a wicked bacteria in my blood that has been beating me up for ten years. The antibiotics kill the bacteria but the dead bacteria float in the bloodstream making me feel like the bottom of a fishing bucket. I got worse before getting better.
For ten years I have cried out to God to heal me, and now I thought, I could be dying. I prayed but did not feel His presence, only the heavy dark bats of depression hanging upside down in my chest, I felt like a lousy liar telling people I was going to come out of this like gold when inside, the bats fluttered.
About fifteen years ago, I got depressed without the help of sickness. I was tired of the danger, the traffic and the constant rain of Medellin. The pressure of the ministry didn’t help. When another missionary left hastily due to a serious threat, I was jealous of him. We have been threatened a few times but never enough to warrant leaving the country and this guy had a free pass out. Because of the danger, Kathy and I did take the kids to Florida for two months, but I came back to Medellin alone. I hated being there, and so I did what any man of God would do. I threw a tizzy fit.
Crying on the floor in our house, I told God that I was mad for being a prisoner of destiny. I knew He called me to Medellin and there was no way out. Why did he call me to a city with little sun and lots of danger? In the middle of the puddle of tears and snot, I somehow said yes again to His calling me, deep unto deep. Something shifted there on the floor. The grace, to live there, from that moment on, began to grow. The dark bats flew out of my heart and the love for the city grew back like Samson’s hair.
During both times, God seems so quiet but suddenly so present like waking up at the foot of a mountain. Both times I saw the worms of selfishness twisting inside my heart and both times I also saw the love of God twisting on the cross for me. Deep calls to deep. Outside it was raining but inside, there was a cleansing pain.
Here is the takeaway: God is deeper than my worst depression.
In 1994, the McMillan family traveled to the kidnapping, murder, and drug capital of the western hemisphere to plant a church and a foundation. God thought Medellin, Colombia a good place to raise a family. And turns out He was right (as He usually is). It became a very large family: The church, Comunidad (Community), is now the largest church in Medellin with over 8,000 members, the Foundation, Viento Fresco, cares for over 150 high-risk children, and a non-profit coffee shop, New Hearts Cafe, serves cups of caffeine and the love of Jesus to thousands of college students.
God is doing so much in Medellin, and we write about here on the Teammcmillan.org blog!