CBN.com “I was living, basically sleeping out of a 12-year-old car, rusting, foam coming out of the seat.”
How does this happen to a man with an education, a nice family, and faith in God?
“It was total failure. Total rock bottom.”
Going back to the ‘70s, Max Davis was the stereotypical high school jock.
“Football, cars and girls. That’s what I thought about. I never read a book,” says Max.
There was one girl that was different than the others named Alanna.
“She told me she was a Christian,” says Max. “I said, ‘If two people are in love, religion shouldn’t matter.’ She said, ‘Oh, I think it matters a lot.’ Three weeks later, I was in church. I accepted the Lord, and God radically changed my life overnight.”
But after high school, Max and Alanna went their separate ways. Max got a football scholarship to Ole Miss. There he met another girl, eventually married, and had two kids. After earning a Masters degree in Theology, he started pastoring a church.
“My idea was that we’re gonna set the world on fire,” says Max. “We’re gonna build the biggest church and win the world for Christ.”
For two years, Max poured himself into the church. Attendance was way up, and things were going great. He figured the stress he felt was just the price of success…
“Being a pastor of a church is incredibly stressful. I had a son that was born deaf, and then I had a father-in-law die of cancer.”
He wasn’t the only one stressed. His wife felt suffocated in the role of “the pastor’s wife.” Max didn’t realize that he was losing his family.
“Focused on growing a great church, focused on counseling everybody else, then when I would see things with my family, I would say, ‘Well, God’s gonna take care of that.’
“I came home one day from church, and my wife was gone. We went through a major divorce, and basically I lost everything. God just allowed me to hit rock bottom.”
Max left the church and tried to mend his broken marriage, but his wife was unwilling. That left him homeless, jobless, and numb.
“For two years, the pain was so intense, I tell people my prayer was, ‘GODDDDDD!!!!’ I couldn’t set foot in a church for two years. It was too emotional but I cried out to God, and that’s what sustained me. Here’s a guy with a Masters degree, played college football, pastored a church, and now I’m sellin’ vacuum cleaners and I can’t even give ‘em away. “
For two long years, Max lived mostly out of his car as he wrestled with God.
“’All things work together for good to those that love the Lord...’ Well I had to come to grips with that little word ‘all.’ All means all things. We like to quote that Scripture until ‘all’ is something painful that we don’t like. Does ‘all’ mean having a son that’s deaf? Does ‘all’ mean a divorce? Does ‘all’ mean havin’ cancer?”
With time and much help from friends, Max came to believe the answer was “yes.”
“Even though I didn’t understand what was going on, I knew He knew exactly where I was at, at that point. I really began to desperately depend on God. I began to see Him as my source for everything.”
In time, Max got back on his feet. Then he wrote two popular books about surviving adversity.
“Looking back on it, losing everything was the best thing that ever happened to me because it brought me to that point of desperate dependence on God.”
So Max called his next book Desperate Dependence. In fact, he’s been writing and speaking for many years now and loving it.
Remember Alanna, his high school sweetheart? He just happened to run into her again too.
“So we went on a date, just as friends, with the kids (everything we did involved the kids) and immediately from the first date, we knew. It’s been the happiest 11 years of my life. I still have to pinch myself!”
Max never would have chosen to go through what he did. But he believes he’s a better man because of how he’s grown.
“When you go through pain, the things of the world that are so important are not so important anymore. When you come to that point, you’re at peace with dying and at peace with not having stuff in your life. Then you’re really free to live! Now things don’t always work out the way we want, but He’s there, and He’s faithful.”
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