Mark Darling – Story 96
I met Mark Darling nearly twenty years ago. I heard about The Rock church and was interested. I vividly recall my first observations of Mark as I attended a service. His charisma was contagious. I was quite intrigued by his passion and zeal for the Lord. I had attended many churches before coming to The Rock and I was, and am, critical of people in a pastoral role. This stems from experiencing a number of pastors who “talk the talk”, but do not “walk the walk.” I was interested in finding someone who was “the real deal.” I found that person in Mark Darling.
Many words come to mind when I think about Mark; passionate, zealous, humble, charismatic, selfless, loving, missionary, devoted, disciplined, focused. I could go on. Mark truly is the epitome of someone who lives a life commensurate with what he believes and preaches every week to his church. Mark has one mission in life and it is not his own, it is the Lords. Marks personal life is lived with one purpose in mind, to love God with everything he has and lead people to Christ. I cannot emphasize this point enough. I do not personally know anyone who is more disciplined and determined to live out this mission in life than Mark. His daily routine is incredibly regimented and entirely focused on this purpose. Mark is a minimalist. He lives in a modest house, drives a modest car and has modest belongings. All of this is in an effort to keep his eye on the prize and not be distracted from his purpose on earth – Jesus Christ.
A persons family tells much about someone and Mark’s family is no exception. Mark’s wife Kathy shares the same passion and love for the Lord that he does. They are celebrating 39 years of marriage together! I watched Mark’s children become adults and begin families. I was absolutely taken back by their behavior. Each one of them was incredibly well behaved, extremely kind, outgoing, sincere and passionate. It was immediately clear to me that they all shared the same love for the Lord that their parents do. I had not experienced people as young as them with that level of maturity and dedication for the Lord. This spoke volumes to me as I truly believe one of the most important and difficult opportunities in life is to raise children who love, and are devoted to, Christ. Mark and Kathy, because of their reliance on the Lord, succeeded at this.
I know and have met many people in life and Mark Darling is one of three people I hold in high regard, one of three people I truly respect. The others are my father and a close friend. It is not easy to gain my respect. It is actually quite difficult and can be quickly lost. The fact is, I have nothing but respect for Mark. His daily routine is unrelenting. He and his family have faced many trials in life and are currently faced with yet another. I could not walk a mile in Mark’s shoes, nor would I want to. He has faced much in life and yet this man won’t back down. He is tenacious. There is one Mark I know and that Mark doesn’t change no matter what is stacked against him. He will not back down from this latest trial and he will not give up fighting. I truly believe it will take much more than a small number of accusations to bring this man down. Mark is too focused on his purpose on this earth to give up his fight.
We do not know why some things happen in life, nor will we while here on earth. One thing I am certain of is that Mark takes comfort in the fact that the Lord has a purpose for all things and works for the good of those who love him. This will not break the Mark Darling I know.
Shared by Josh