I was serving in a different nation and things were really rough. My exhaustion of working in another language, issues with my leadership, my health had broken and things were…pretty bad to say the least. Worst of all was my thoughts toward God.
Everything was unraveling. As it felt like it had been for the last handful of years prior to this point. It seemed like everything I did for the Lord failed, was thwarted or rejected.
The straw broke the camel’s back.
And I broke.
I threw myself on the ground (in public), and wept, broken. Deeply broken. People passed by and went running to the leadership. I didn’t care. There I lay, in all humiliation, before the Lord.
And I cried bitterly to him, “If you want my utter humiliation, you have it.”
I had erroneously believed that God wanted us to be humble so he would utterly humiliate us.
Soon I was to board an airplane (one of my worst fears in life).
But this time I didn’t care.
“If you want this plane to crash and me die, then let it be. Just save the others.”
I felt done. And undone.
To this day it’s a point of deep embarrassment when I meet people who saw that spectacle. It’s all they remember of me. I find myself avoiding people who were there. In fact, I didn’t even want to write this but I felt the Lord said to.
A number of months later I found myself in another country at a ministry where one of the leaders told me if I didn’t get rest, it could affect me for the rest of my life. He said he has seen people never come back from the dark hole.
Well, that scared me.
I left ministering the gospel for awhile to just be.
And after a number of years I began to recover. Although a health crash would come again (which I’m still recovering from).
Anyway, back to the issue of humiliation. In that dark hour, when thoughts of God and what he wants get twisted, that was what I felt like God wanted to do–to continue to humiliate me. It isn’t true, but my feelings at the time were very real.
So when I read about when Jesus changes the water to wine, I remember that event. That epic breakdown. Those lies.
Because here is a moment where Jesus clearly tells his mother, ‘It’s not yet my time’ (Jn 2:4). Yet he does the miracle anyway.
I think it was about honoring his mother. But I also think it was about preserving the dignity of this poor young couple. They couldn’t even provide the wedding basics. This young man, in love and on the happiest day of his life, was also to be humiliated from his poverty.
Yet Jesus protected him from humiliation.
This wasn’t the humiliation that comes from serving Christ. This was the humiliation of insufficiency. Something very different.
And Jesus saved him.
I find it interesting that one of the first things Jesus did to reveal his glory was to save a man and his family from humiliation. And one of the very last acts he did on earth was to take on utter humiliation, dying on the cross completely naked and becoming actual sin.
And both of these acts were about weddings.
It makes me want to say, “That’s the Savior I serve.”
He is good.