Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. NLT – Mark 15:37
Mountains. They are a metaphor for life, however, not just any mountain – Mount Everest. I’ve been captivated by it ever since I was young. I saw a picture of it in a National Geographic magazine and I have had my sights set on climbing it. I took the adventure seriously until I injured my lower back during a training exercise in the Army in April 2003. With a medical discharge from service in November 2004, I became a Disabled Veteran and stopped dreaming about doing a lot of things. My hopes of becoming an Army Chaplain were gone.
After the service, I still viewed becoming a senior pastor to be the ultimate experience life could and would offer me. I got the chance to be a senior pastor of a church my last year of seminary 2008. Being a senior pastor was an end result of a life-long dream. I summited the mountain of all mountains; I had conquered Mount Everest. Standing at the top of the world was quite the spiritual experience. However, I always remembered that whatever goes up must come down. Getting to the summit was only half of the journey. It was short-lived. I was in the position for 6 ½ months when I was voted out in January 2009. I was voted out on the grounds of being a bad preacher. I couldn’t believe that. I was devastated. It hit me hard. My descent down from the summit put me in an associate pastor position. There I lasted 18 months and experienced the full effects of the spiritual death zone. I was wounded physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I needed someone to save me. I needed help.
Surviving the spiritual death zone was about me trying to climb without supplemental oxygen. Because of the low oxygen, I struggled for breath. It took another man to save me by giving his oxygen supply to me. His body was too broken to continue down the mountain. He sacrificed his own life to save mine. I’m here to tell my story and his sacrifice.