All this brought to mind the winsome biography Doctor Sangster, written by his son Paul. I think it is the most moving preacher's biography I have ever read, partly because of the way this disciplined, prayerful man really did honestly check-up himself! At times he suffered from depression (as other Christian leaders have) and when he died private papers revealed so much of his heart. One lengthy confession is startling reading (and I have used it in past lectures to ministers). Let me quote the first part:
I am a minister of God yet my private life is a failure in these ways: a) I am irritable and easily put out b) I am impatient with my wife and children. c) I am deceitful in that I often express private annoyance when a caller is announced and simulate pleasure when I actually meet them. e) Even in my preaching I fear I am more often wondering what the people think about me, than what they think about my Lord and His word. f) I have long felt, in a vague way, that something was hindering the effectiveness of my ministry and I must conclude that the 'something' is my failure in living the truly Christian life.In all he has twenty two sections of soul-searching which includes times of depression and ends with this prayer:
May God help me to the end and keep me, and give me the full assurance of His favour and peace. And may I remember my heaviness and depression in days when all is well, that I may not fail to rejoice in the sunshine and that I may preach to needy hearts and pray for the exact word matched to their need.And I must tell you about one more occurrence with A Spiritual Check-Up!