Bill Lenz, a founder and pastor of the Rock Community Church in Menasha, Wisconsin, died on Monday, December 4, 2017.
From most of the reports of Pastor Bill Lenz, he was in ministry for more than 35 years. He once helped many people out and chased their mental disorder. But, he suffered from depression for the last several months. Though he was reaching out to a doctor for help in walking through this, but depression eventually claimed his life on earth.
This message made me feel an uncertain life. One man, whom maybe we just met yesterday, would probably pass away today. This moment, we are as busy as a bee, but we never know what will happen to us next moment. I strongly feel that we are inseparable from God’s care and protection. Everyone will suffer lots of setbacks, failures and scourges in his life. Once, almost depression was killing me. But for God’s guidance, my life would have come to an end. When I recall this period of my life, it seems like only yesterday.
Unknowingly, there was more and more darkness and sadness in my spirit. I often attended the church gatherings and other church activities. However, I took no pleasure in the sermons but got more confused. Reading the , I knew nothing but doctrines. For some social phenomena, I couldn’t see through them. Many difficulties couldn’t be resolved. When praying, I wasn’t moved and couldn’t feel the Lord was with me, just like walking dead in darkness. Many times I was suffering in my spirit and tried to end my life. I couldn’t figure out why I was in such situation. I missed my past days when I could feel God had always been right by my side. But at that moment, it seemed that God was very far away from me, even abandoned me.
I couldn’t cast off my fear and uneasiness but only wept bitterly and prayed for God’s mercy. One day, after , I opened the Bible, and my eyes went to the verse, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). I read it repeatedly. Suddenly, I realized that I hadn’t received any work of the Holy Spirit. Thinking back the first few years of my belief in God, I specially got the grace of God. No matter what happened in life, only praying to God could make me feel peaceful. When reading the Bible, I felt bright and had a way forward. Sometimes, when I wanted to do something, once I took some thought, God would help me before prayer. Especially when the tough problem didn’t iron out, I cried out to God bitterly, and then it would take a turn for the better. After experiencing these, I tasted God’s special faithfulness. Just as the Bible says, “And I say to you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). But not long after, I had been tortured so much that I felt worse than death. I thought: Why? Since believing in the Lord, I had been going to the church to listen to the sermons, helping church friends who had difficulties in life, visiting those who suffered illness and helping some weak sisters. How could I be abandoned by the Lord? I had asked the pastors for help, fasted and prayed many times. Once, I chatted with my friends to ease my pain, but to no avail. For the sake of killing time, my only choice was to watch the movie and listen to the music online.
One day, when I was searching for information on the Internet, I was deeply attracted by a passage of words, “The Almighty has mercy on these people who suffer deeply. At the same time, He is fed up with these people who have no consciousness, because He has to wait too long for the answer from humans. He desires to seek, seek your heart and your spirit. He wants to bring you food and water and to awaken you, so you are no longer thirsty, no longer hungry. When you are weary and when you begin to feel the desolation of this world, do not be perplexed, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival any time. He is watching by your side, waiting for you to turn back. He is waiting for the day your memory suddenly recovers: becoming conscious of the fact that you came from God, somehow and somewhere once lost, falling unconscious on the roadside, and then, unknowingly having a father. You further realize that the Almighty has been watching there, awaiting your return all along” (“The Sighing of the Almighty”). This paragraph touched me. At that moment, I felt as if warm hands were softly touching me, and a wave of warmth surged in my heart. It seemed that I heard the Lord calling me, “My kid, come back home!” Later, I went online to see these words again. As I read more, the pain disappeared bit by bit, my heart gradually lightened, and I restored the initial confidence and love. I really had a feeling of coming back home.
Through my experience, I came to realize that no matter what difficulties we encountered in our life, or what sufferings and afflictions we went through, those are not terrible. The terrible thing is that our heart strays from God. Just as the grape leaves the vine, when we stay away from God, our life will gradually wither, and then Satan will seize the opportunity to get in. Once our heart is occupied by Satan, the situation will become worse and worse. Thus, coming before God is the most crucial, because He will guide us to move forward.
Finally, to the brothers and sisters in Christ, who love Pastor Bill Lenz, I’d like to say that may the deceased rest in peace while we living Christians should cherish our lives even more. We cannot control our own fate or plan anything. The only thing we can do is truly , truly depend on God, and give ourselves to God.