Does life feel like a battle with failure? I have experienced many low points in my life. Five years after starting my business, the IRS put tax liens on my house and my business. Being several months behind on sales tax payments to the State of Arkansas, I was under threat of being shut down. I was continually fighting overdrafts with the bank on my business checking account, and the bank was discussing foreclosure. I bounced paychecks, vendor checks, and tax checks. I had extended all my personal credit cards to their limits to the point that I had no reserve. People were encouraging me to cut my losses and go bankrupt.
In the middle of this crisis, my assistant walked into my office just before closing time and told me that she had made a mistake in the check register; we had a negative balance of $23,000. The fact that we had no cash was not surprising, but to be $23,000 in the hole was a little much to stomach. To make matters worse, I had a $20,000 payroll to meet the very next day. I left the office ready to call it quits. As I looked at my wife and two young kids that evening, I wrestled inside with feelings of letting everyone down. I prayed for a miracle. As I slept that night, it came in the form of a dream.
In my dream, the scene was like something out of an apocalyptic film. The earth appeared to be destroyed. All the buildings had collapsed to the ground, victims of a nuclear disaster. Smoke was rising from the earth and hidden among the devastation were hideous creatures ready to kill.
On a hill away from this devastation was a secure, white castle surrounded by a moat. I was inside the castle along with the other warriors resting up for battle. Each day the drawbridge would lower, and I, along with the other warriors, would spill out into this hostile landscape and battle with the creatures until nightfall. That’s when the drawbridge would lower, and we would run back to the castle to get bandaged up for the battles we would face again the next day. My life was this dream. But at that moment, I could not get back to the castle. I was stranded among the devastation and alone. When I awoke I walked to the kitchen table and wrote these words I titled Running Home.
I hear the sounds of distant wars. The cries draw ever near.
As darkness sets around my path, my mind is filled with fear.
I shelter from the evening mist by crouching to the ground.
The cold sinks deep inside my skin. Again I hear the sound.
Screams of pain, a battle cry; they paralyze my soul.
I turn to face the righteous camp, for now I'm running home.
Bombs, they blast around my path as Satan's troops close in.
I fall down to the battlefield. My strength is growing thin.
The enemy moves in to kill. I call out to the Lord.
With one last desperation cry, I brace to feel the sword.
I close my eyes. The moments pass. A silence fills my ears.
And rising up to look around, my eyes are filled with tears.
For on each side surrounding me, angelic forces stand.
And from their midst my Lord appears, and reaches out his hand.
I sat at the kitchen table after writing those words and said to myself, I am not alone. I can’t quit. No matter what anyone says, no matter the hardships, I am going to be an example of determination.
Emboldened to press forward in my journey, I walked into work a new man the following day. No miracle check arrived in the mail to bail me out of my problems, but I managed through that financial difficulty. The ups and downs of my life have all been a part of living my dream, and they have only helped to strengthen my resolve.
If you're experiencing a low point, stop fighting the battle alone and run home to the Lord; Psalm 33:16-19.