Sermon Illustrations

The noted author, John Killinger, tells a powerful story about a man who is

all-alone in a hotel room in Canada. The man is in a state of deep depression. He is so depressed that he can’t even bring himself to go downstairs to the restaurant to eat. He is a powerful man usually the chairman of a large shipping company… but at this moment, he is absolutely overwhelmed by the pressures and demands of life… and he lies there on a lonely hotel bed far from home wallowing in self-pity.

All of his life, he has been fastidious… worrying about everything, anxious and fretful, always fussing and stewing over every detail. And now, at mid-life, his anxiety has gotten the best of him, even to the extent that it is difficult for him to sleep and to eat.

He worries and broods and agonizes about everything… his business, his investments, his decisions, his family, his health, even, his dogs. Then, on this day in this Canadian hotel, he craters… he hits bottom. Filled with

anxiety, completely immobilized, paralyzed by his emotional despair, unable to leave his room, lying on his bed, he moans out loud: “Life isn’t worth living this way, I wish I were dead!” And then, he wonders, what God would think if he heard him talking this way. Speaking aloud again he says, “God, it’s a joke, isn’t it? Life is nothing but a joke.”

Suddenly, it occurs to the man that this is the first time he’s talked to God since he was a little boy. He is silent for a moment and then he begins to pray. He describes it like this:

“I just talked out loud about what a mess my life was in, and how tired I was, and how much I wanted things to be different in my life. And you know what happened next? A voice!! I heard a voice say, ‘It doesn’t have to be that way!’ That’s all.” I sat straight up and turned around… I laughed at myself. I thought I must be hearing things. But then I was absolutely certain that I had heard those words: ‘It doesn’t have to be that way!’ He went home and talked to his wife about what happened. He talked to his brother who is a minister and asked him: “Do you think it was God speaking to me?” The brother said: “Of course, because that is the message of God to you and everyone of us. That’s the message of the Bible. That’s why Jesus Christ came into the world to save us, to deliver us, to free us, to change us… and to show us that ‘It doesn’t have to be that way,’ … You don’t have to be anxious or depressed or selfish or hopeless. Jesus Christ can turn your life around. If you will welcome Him into your heart, He will make you a new person.” A few days later, the man called his brother and said, “You were right. It has really happened. I’ve done it. I’m a new man in Christ, He has turned it around for me.”

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