Once upon a time, a young man who lived in a mountain village had a great desire to find God. He went to everyone he knew in the village and asked them “How can I find God” All the villagers turned him away. They just shook their heads no. He went to the church on the outside of town and knocked on the big wooden gate. The gatekeeper asked him what he wanted. He replied “I am looking for God do you know how can I find him”? The man inside the gate replied “I can't help you, but there is a man up on the mountain. People say he knows God. Why don't you ask him”? The young man again started on his lonely journey. He climbed a ragged brutal rock face on a cold hard mountain to reach the top of where the old man lived. He came upon an old cabin with a column of smoke pouring from its humble chimney. Climbing the broken stairs he approached the handmade wooden door, and knocked. A latch was unlatched and the door creaked open.
“Yes” cried the old man. A humble man of extremely short stature presented himself to the young man. “Can I help you”? He growled in his old man voice.
“A man in the village in the old church told me to come to you. He told me you knew how to find God.” The young man spoke smoothly. “I am trying to find God” he replied. “He said you know how to find him.”
The old man looked up into his sincere eyes. Without speaking he started to walk towards the lake.
The young man looking puzzled followed slowly behind him.
The old man started towards the small lake that joined his property. Into the water he began to walk and turned around and motioned the young man to follow. And so he did.
“I have already been baptized” cried the young man.
Unconcerned, the old man continued to walk into the water up to his waist. A look of frustration came across the young mans face.
“Come here” creaked the old man.
The young man stepped closer and the old man put his hand on top of his head and pushed his head under the icy water.
How silly was this, thought the young man? This old man is crazy. Despair filled his heart as he thought of returning without his answer.
The desire to have air overwhelmed him and started to forcibly push up on the old man's hand. He was met with certain resistance and could not force his head up. His heart began to pound. Thoughts of his untimely demise went through his panicking mind. Frantically he waved his hands to show the old man he is had enough. The old man did not respond but held his head harder than ever before. The boy’s need of oxygen was now apparent as he began to swing aimlessly at the old man to let him go. Suddenly the old man released him and he pulled up his oxygen deprived head from the cold lake water gasping for air.
“What the hell is wrong with you old man”? He panted “Could you not see that I was drowning”?
The old man looked him squarely in the eyes and spoke “When you desire God as much as you desired air just then, you shall surely find Him”
With that, the old man walked away and back to his cozy broken down cabin.
The Lord told me to turn off the TV and the music. I quickly obliged Him. He then told me to fast two days per week. After short time I increased to three days per week. I did this for about a year and a half. During this time God began to do two things in my life.
Number 1- He began to show me how wretched a man I really was. I was convicted of things that I never thought possible. This time of dying was crucial in moving forward in any kind of ministry. Psalms was my refuge. Often I would spend weeks on Psalm 91. Sometimes I wouldn't go out for two weeks at a time. I was devastated by what the Lord had shown me about myself.
When I look back, I think it was one of the greatest times of my life. I learned that I was the greatest hindrance to myself.