Mark Darling – Story 101
My story about Mark starts in a closet in Seattle, Washington. A very dark closet that was infested with ants. I hadn’t taken the path that Wisdom cries out for us to take. In my arrogance and pride, I took an easy path, the path of a fool. My life was riddled with addictions, my heart was broken by unfaithful women, I had abandoned my family and those that loved me most, and there was not a single thought in my mind that was bent toward God despite the best efforts of my faithful parents. The sum total of my life’s decisions brought me to this place: Without money, without love, and without a stable home…
One evening, in the middle of the night, I was walking around a small lake. my soul was pierced with a ray of light that was not of this world. It pierced through the fabric of my being and spoke to the ears of my soul with a voice like a light on the water: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you…” God had spoken to me. I sold what little I had, bought a Bible and began to greedily digest its pages. My soul was desperately sick. One night an image came into my mind of a CD I saw in my youth. It was Mark’s CD: “Medicinal Spirit.”
Even now, I cannot help but cry when I remember the first time I heard Mark’s voice come through my ear, “Whom have I in heaven, LORD, but you? On Earth, there is nothing that I choose.” I was pierced. My heart broke, and I poured out my soul to Jesus. He was in the room with me. I felt something of what Mary felt when she fell before Jesus beneath the eyes of her accusers. To the world I was garbage. To Jesus, I am his treasure.
I encountered the infinite meekness of my Savior listening to Mark’s song, “Jessica’s Hope.” His presence filled the room. He held every atom of my corrupt body together, every particle of the Universe, and He was sustaining every ant that was crawling across my body. Every breath is a gift. Yet, he wooed me. He stooped down and gently wooed this idolatrous man. His love poured in through the walls and locked doors of my heart. The Alabaster Jar of my heart cracked at his feet and for the first time, I felt the Love of Christ overtake me. Jesus, a friend of sinners.
Ever since then, I have had an insatiable desire for God. Mark’s songs became my prayers to Jesus. “Medicinal Spirit” was played through my ears, literally, hundreds of times those first few months. The Lord ministered to my soul and brought a lot of healing to my life, and a lot of peace. Several months after being saved, I began to listen to Mark’s sermons on strongdisciple.com. There is no person I know that has been so overtaken by God’s love than Mark. It drips off of him. Every message of his ignites my heart and melts my rebellious bent in new ways.
One year after coming to Jesus, a friend invited me to the Creation Museum where a bunch of pastors were gathering for a board meeting. We pulled up to the hotel where everyone was staying, and a meeting had just broken up. I was invisible to just about everyone in that room. But Mark walked right up to me, and said, “Let’s go out for lunch!” Imagine the impact that had on me. Little did he know that I had been discipled by him in a closet and on the road laying carpet for that whole year. We had lunch and I tried to express just how much I appreciated him, but I could hardly string my thoughts together. Despite my terrible awkwardness, he just loved on me and opened up to me about his life.
The next day, he called me. I could hardly get a word in because he immediately set out to encourage me. These were his words, “It was such an honor getting to meet with you, Ryan! and I am so excited at what God is doing in your life! Never give up, Ryan, Never give up! I am praying for you.” and that was the end of the conversation. The phone must have been disconnected, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Those simple words run through my head several times a week. Robert Murray McCheyne said, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.” I could hear the voice of Jesus through Mark’s exhortation (2 Cor. 5:20). That’s how I think of Mark: A man who walks with God.
Mark, brother, I love you. I really do. I carry such a strong affection for you in my heart. You are such an encouragement to so many people. Your labor will bear fruit in ways you never imagined. You have taught me so much about God and his love for me and his love for the lost. I am so amazed at the work of God’s grace in your life. There is a mighty crown that is laid up for you. You have a glorious future and an explosive joy on the horizon. “The Judge of all the earth will do right.” Press on. Jesus is praying for you, and so am I.
Shared by Ryan C.