Hopeless—but Not Enough

Featuring Bob Kauflin Posted on April 3, 2010

test linkOver the next three months I experienced a variety of symptoms. Hollowness and tightness in my chest. Buzzing in my face. Daily thoughts of death. Itching on my arms. Panic attacks. Sleeplessness. Shortness of breath.

I woke up each morning to this thought: Your life is completely hopeless. And things went downhill from there.

I chose not to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I'm certain they would have classified me as someone having a breakdown. I made an appointment for a complete physical with our family doctor, who said I was fine. At least that's what the tests showed.

But the tests couldn't measure what was taking place in my heart. I wasbattling God for his glory—and losing.

About a year after these symptoms appeared, Julie and I attended a leadership conference and shared a meal with our good friends Gary and Betsy Ricucci. I knew Gary was a wise and gracious pastor. I also knew Ineeded help. Desperately. Early in our conversation I confessed, “Gary, I don't know what to do. I feel hopeless all the time. Completely hopeless.”

I expected Gary to say something like, “You'll be okay, Bob. God is faithful. He's working all things for your good.” Instead he looked at me with compassion and stated, “I don't think you're hopeless enough.”

I'm not sure what the look on my face said at that moment, but inside Iwas picking myself up off the floor.
Gary smiled. “If you were really hopeless, you'd stop trusting in yourselfand what you can do and start trusting in what Jesus accomplished for you atthe cross.”

The words drifted into my head like morning fog over a field—there was a discernible shape, but I couldn't quite get my arms around it.

As I considered Gary's response in the coming weeks, the fog began tolift. I started seeing a reality that dominated my life—the reality of my sinful cravings. My problems—emotional, physical, and otherwise—stemmed from battles within my heart of which I'd been largely unaware. Yes, I wanted God to be exalted through my life, but another agenda was ruling my heart. I wanted people to approve of me, admire me, applaud me.

To be honest, I wanted people to adore me. I had an incessant passion to steal God's glory. I was a lover of myself rather than a lover of God '
(2 Timothy3:2, 4). And it was killing me. The unresolved conflict in my heart spilled over into my mind and body and led to that fateful January night in 1994.

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