However the second time he spoke at the conference, the Holy Spirit very graciously began to unpeel my pathetic pride and arrogance and see what was really going on in my heart. It wasn't an issue about Fini's preaching. It was that I was jealous of his joy and wonder in the Presence of God. It was that I longed to have a similar experience and relationship with God that he had. Fini himself said at "Glory and Grace 2011" this year;
"There is nothing more annoying that someone who is more joyful than you are".
It's so true! That year I have to say I was more taken with his wife Isi - as both a worship leader and a prophetess. Indeed I had a powerful encounter when she laid her hands on me in the "fire tunnel" that so radically changed my life.
But progressively as I have listened to and followed the "Glory and Grace conferences" that I haven't been able to afford to get to - I've increasingly come to appreciate deeply Fini de Gersigny's wonderful ministry as a man of God and his insights into Scripture and to the mind of God. Yes - maybe he isn't an expositor in the fashion of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones or Stanley Jebb or Terry Virgo. But he is different - and wonderfully so!
I have been listening to both Isi and Fini's messages from this year's "Glory and Grace conference" on the advice of Rob Rufus. I'm still struggling to lay off the legalistic ties of my past and really begin to enjoy and understand the unconditional love of God. My normal practice is to listen to preachers like Rob himself or Terry or others - but in one of Rob's messages, he made a comment about Isi and her ministry that I hadn't heard and so over the last few days I've been listening to Fini and Isi on the way to and from work. And how glad I am that I did!
Fini was just closing his message and beginning to minister to people - and he made a comment about the depressed people there. My ears pricked up - because as many know I've struggled with depression over the past few years due to very bad experiences at Acorns Children's Hospice (bullying) and of course Sovereign Grace Ministries and the excommunication. I have always traditionally believed that depression is a "sin" and that it is our sin that is to blame for it and we are somehow failures for not experiencing the joy of the Lord.
Fini however said;
"Depression - you didn't bring this on yourself! This isn't your fault! It isn't due to your sin - your failing. It wasn't something you did! This is the work of the enemy!".
That comment alone brought me such amazing and outstanding joy. And such freedom! If the devil can keep us believing that depression is OUR fault then we are effectively trapped in a vicious circle that is virtually impossible to break out of. But if we can see that actually it is a work of the enemy to blind us from the passionate goodness of God then we can begin to deal with the depressive feelings and recognise them as alien and not of our doing. Suddenly I can see a clear path ahead - that it is not anti-depressants that are the cure but encounters with the living God!
I have never heard any teacher or pastor bring this insight on depression before. Sadly many Christian leaders seem to uncomfortably avoid depression because they do not understand it. I dread to think what many leaders counsel depressed people in their church with when presented with them. Oh that we could hear more leaders grab this insight and agree and begin telling their people that depression is NOT your fault, you are NOT to blame and it is NOT your sin that is the cause of this! How can sin be the cause when it was crucified at the Cross and is now powerless?
Jesus Christ Himself said of His ministry;
"THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED".
Freedom for those who are oppressed and release to the captives! Surely this includes those who suffer with depression!