I admittedly don’t know a lot about TD Jakes, but I do know he is one of the most famous pastors in the US. He has written countless best-selling books, and many people look up to him for spiritual leadership. His most recent book is Crushing: God Turns Pressure into Power. I recently saw a clip on YouTube in which he shared some of the challenges that almost led him to quit ministry. Jake’s testimony is emotionally impactful and illustrates the importance of knowing your why, or the purpose that drives you in life. There is only so much people will do for themselves, but when they have a purpose larger than themselves there is no telling the lengths they will go and the adversity they will overcome to achieve it.
I almost quit. I’m a country boy. I’m from West Virginia. I don’t know nothing about this big time stuff. I never even asked to be big. I wanted to be effective, not famous. Famous is the consequence of being effective. I didn’t know nothing about being famous, and I didn’t like it. And so there I was, and when you’re first new everybody attacks you first, and figures you out later.
The first time I was in the Washington Post, the article was so vicious it made me nauseous. I was so shocked that you could say that stuff about somebody you didn’t even know based on assumptions and a little bit of this and a little bit of that and they piece it all together. And you don’t get to say anything back.
So I decided I don’t want this. I was preaching for Pastor Bishop Donny Mears, and nobody knew it because preachers can override their feelings and function. I preached, the place was on fire, but inside I wanted to quit. I told God that I’m through with this. I’m not going through this, I don’t need this. See, I don’t need that. I’m a guy who likes to go get his own chicken wings, I don’t have to have all of that stuff to be happy.
So I said, “I’m not doing this anymore. I’m not doing this because I don’t need this, and I didn’t ask for this. I’m only doing this because of what happened in my life, the circumstances that happened in my life.” He put me on stage, I didn’t ask for it. And when I saw how much it cost, I said “You can have that right back up in here, I don’t need it.”
I was mad inside. I was hurt. And I stayed up in the fellowship with the pastors because I didn’t want to go back to my room and sulk in my own sorrows. And they said this lady downstairs is waiting to see you, the service was over, and the fellowship was over, and the pastors started to leave and I was trying to out-wait her. I thought she’d give up and leave.
And when I finally came down the steps, she was there and she was just a wee little bit of a woman. And she said “Bishop Jakes.” She said “I’ve been in the hospital.” She said “I was pregnant in my fallopian tubes, and the baby died in my tubes, and I was carrying around a dead baby, and the toxicity from the baby almost killed me.” She said “The only thing that kept me alive was you preaching.” She said “if you had never been preaching to me everyday, I swear I would have died.”
And then she looked at me and she said, “It’s for us. It’s not for them. It’s for us.” It hit me so hard. I didn’t even get her name. I got in the car and cried all the way back to my room. Because she reminded me why I was there. Last week when I texted you, I was up in Baltimore and DC. And I was doing a book signing, and then she only came up to the table to buy Soar! She said, “You don’t remember me, do you?” I said “No.”
She didn’t even look like the same person. She’s all dressed up, she gained weight, she looked like she wasn’t sick. She said “I met you in the bottom of Donny Mears’ church, years ago.” And I burst into tears. I lost it. I stopped the signing. And I jumped up and hugged her. If it were not for that woman. . .