His Mighty Strength

His Mighty Strength

Randy FrazeeBy Randy Frazee9 Minutes

Excerpt from His Mighty Strength: Walk Daily in the Same Power That Raised Jesus from the Dead by Randy Frazee

For decades, we’d hosted weekly dinners in our home for neighbors and other guests. I’d actually written books about it, and the New York Times once did a front-page article on our table experience. Rozanne prepared the food, and I facilitated the conversation. I loved these gatherings and always looked forward to them, but now, as everyone sat around our table laughing and talking, I felt wordless and empty. My funk was literally changing the culture we’d worked so hard to build in our neighborhood and home. I was starting to pull my family and friends down with me into my pit, which only intensified my pain and feelings of powerlessness.

Speaking of food, I lost my appetite for it. I actually lost my willpower to eat. When some people go through hard seasons, they binge eat. Turns out, I stop eating. Rozanne tried to entice me back to food by making some of my favorite dishes, but I wasn’t biting. Another item on my “lost” list was my drive and desire to succeed. Since the age of fourteen, I had valued productivity and achievement. I always set annual goals against a five-year vision and then tackle strategic assignments each day to catalyze success. But suddenly I was finding it hard to even get off the sofa.

About two months into this new normal, Rozanne approached me looking concerned. “Randy,” she said, “if you keep this up, it’s going to ruin us financially.” We were well taken care of by my work, but if I didn’t start producing, things would eventually come crashing down. I understood and agreed with her, but I felt powerless to do anything about it. I was trapped in a deep valley of despair and saw no way out.

By the time the late-night pillow-beating episodes happened at the three-month mark, I knew I had to do something. It was time to see a doctor—actually, more than one. I desperately reached out to a host of doctors, all Christians: a primary care physician, a licensed counselor, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist.

The first assignment they gave me was to exercise. This actually wasn’t too hard to do. I’d been an avid runner for nearly three decades, and I knew full well that exercise released God-given endorphins that could create a sense of peace in the body. So, I started a new routine. Instead of running three times a week, I ran three miles twice a day. As I ran, I begged God to heal me. Before I knew it, I’d lost twenty pounds. It’s amazing what exercise combined with loss of appetite can do. The weight loss and added muscle tone were certainly health benefits, but they didn’t do anything to jolt me out of my depression.

My counselor and a few friends encouraged me to meet with the four people who had betrayed me. So, I started setting up appointments. I met with the first one by myself. Big mistake. I experienced it as a meeting of mind games, and it sent me even deeper into the abyss. On my meeting with the second betrayer, who was really more of an accomplice, I brought along a trusted friend. At this meeting, the betrayer unintentionally revealed the truth about what had happened, much as Jack Nicholson’s character, Colonel Jessup, did in A Few Good Men. This was when I was finally able to stop blaming myself. This whole situation wasn’t my fault. There was no decision I could have made that would have prevented the betrayal. Beating my pillow at night and berating myself was for naught. The revelation didn’t stop the nightly movie marathons, but it did shift the theme from self-blaming to the betrayal itself. But even this knowledge didn’t fix me. Actually, I think I might have recovered faster if everything had been my fault. In counseling, I discovered that betraying someone who deeply trusted you is one of the most painful wounds one human being can inflict on another. At this point, I decided not to meet with the two remaining betrayers.

“Randy, you are definitely clinically depressed,” my psychiatrist said. I was now six months into the fallout from this disaster, and my doctor’s words meant I was nowhere near being done with this nightmare I was living in. She prescribed stronger medicines, meds I knew were highly addictive. Once I started taking them, I couldn’t just decide to one day stop taking them. I’d have to wean myself off slowly. This frightened me, but the fact that my doctor considered my condition severe enough to warrant such powerful medication frightened me even more.

When it was time to take the first pill, I hesitated. I didn’t want to take it, but I also felt I had no alternative. Rozanne stood by my side at the kitchen counter as I held the small white pill in my hand. My body shook and I began to cry. I wrapped my arms around Rozanne as my knees buckled. “Dear God,” I prayed, “help me.” Finally, I swallowed the first pill. After ten days of pills and no sign of change, the doctor concluded this was not the medicine for me after all.

How many more pills do I have to take before I find something that works?

Is this my new normal?

Is this how my story ends?

Here’s the kicker. All of this was happening while I was under contract to write a book on experiencing God’s resurrection power in our lives. Here I was, writing a book on how to tap into the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, and I could barely raise myself off the couch. Either the premise of the book was a farce or, at the very least, I didn’t have a clue about how to experience it. Either way, I now felt disqualified to write the book. I tried numerous times to jump-start my pen, but to no avail. The irony was not, and is not, lost on me.

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Taken from His Mighty Strength: Walk Daily in the Same Power That Raised Jesus from the Dead by Randy Frazee Copyright © 2021 by Randy Frazee. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com