Thursday, June 2, 2011
Rewind Wednesdays: Interview with Dennis Humphries of Hissong
Calvary Came Through
SGM Radio Feature: Dennis Humphries talks to Lorraine Walker of SGM Radio, October 2006
Friendly and open, fashionable and clean-cut, Dennis Humphries looks the part of a busy Southern Gospel singer as he visits with fans at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. His award-winning trio, Hissong, has a full schedule this week; the other two members are chatting with friends and the buzz of the exhibit hall seems to grow as the flow of traffic increases.
Dennis sits down to chat and there is an air of intensity about him, a depth of compassion in his eyes that hints at a life that has seen more than just venues, buses, and applauding audiences. As he begins to share the story he has told time and again, the backdrop of activity fades away and the listener is absorbed in events that seem too incredible to be true. And yet this man has experienced each one and more, and his desire to share his story is driven by his compassion, his need to reach others with the Hope he has found.
Several years ago, Dennis Humphries was a hard-working music minister in a large church. He was married to a beautiful young lady, and anyone looking at Dennis would probably have considered him to be a successful Christian with a great future in ministry. Then came the phone call that would change his life forever.
Dennis’s wife of eight and a half years had been shot three times during a robbery attempt. At the time she had been out with a man with whom she’d been having an affair. The lady survived, the eight-month old child she was carrying did not.
Dennis’s world was rocked, and even now in the retelling, there is still the sense of pain that will never quite be erased. The incident went before the courts, the two men responsible were caught, and Dennis struggled to pick up the pieces of his life. His church advised him to divorce his wife and move on. He decided to forgive her and work at repairing their relationship. Meanwhile, the trauma of this incident had another affect: Dennis found himself in the depths of depression.
Mental health has been described as a continuum between wellness and illness, with each of us at a different point along that continuum at any given time. When depression strikes for any reason it can be debilitating. In the grips of this darkness, Dennis found himself unable to leave his home, unable to work, and he eventually sought medical help.
Then, a year later, Dennis’s world was rocked yet again. Two masked men invaded his home while he was there alone and held him at gunpoint for over an hour. Forcing him to drive to an ATM and withdraw cash, they took the money and returned to his home. The men tied him with a VCR cord and beat him with a gun, threatening to kill him. Dennis was in the shower stall of the bathroom, tied and beaten, while the men went through his house. He began to pray out loud and the men returned to hear him praying. Placing a knife on the counter near him, they turned and left without killing him as they’d intended.
This horrific event plunged Dennis further into the throws of depression; he felt that God had turned His back on him and had left him all alone. His life had been spared, but through the trauma and head injuries caused by the home invasion, the illness increased and he was hospitalized. His home life was never the same; his wife continued to be unfaithful and eventually there was a divorce.
Dennis found himself on his face before God, crying out in prayer. Then he heard Vestal Goodman singing, “God Walks the Dark Hills…The ways, the by ways…He walks through the billows of life's troubled sea…He walks through the cold dark night, the shadows of midnight…God walks the dark hills just to guide you and me”.
The powerful words spoke to Dennis and he knew he couldn’t give up. Through the prayers of many, he was able to make his way through this dark period of his life. The events have produced in him a compassion for others that goes beyond empathy; there is an incredible desire to reach out and lift the drowning ones out of their darkness, showing them the path to healing they can’t see for themselves.
Speaking with Dennis now, there is little indication of that broken individual who cried out to God for healing. For God has brought healing into his life, and Dennis has walked the long road back to health with a story to tell and a new ministry to others who are broken and wounded. Night after night he shares this incredible story, soon to be published in a book with the proposed title of “Calvary Came Through” [Insight Publishing, Pigeon Forge, TN].
Dennis shares how God has used him to touch lives. “I give my testimony every night, and every night people will come to me saying, ‘I’m going through depression, how can you help me?’” Using his experiences as a tool to help others, he’s been able to minister to many who might not otherwise seek help.
“The Church should be reaching out with love”, says Dennis. Unfortunately, many are just not equipped to understand mental health issues and how to help those facing depression. His wife faced her own ordeal during this time, but when the church suggested that Dennis turn her away, he stood by her even though their marriage eventually ended. “I wanted to do what God would have done. I didn’t condemn her.”
Dennis says that this should be the role the Church takes, that of reaching out with love and counsel. He’s finding that the greatest direction of his ministry is toward the men in their audience. “Men are supposed to be the strong ones. But I find that more are coming to talk to me after a concert, telling me they are dealing with depression.”
The first thing, says Dennis, is to be able to admit what is happening. Realize you are facing depression and that you need help. Then reach out to others and ask them to help you and bring the help to you that you may not be able to find yourself. Find a pastor willing and able to help you deal with your depression, and work with him towards healing.
“Depression has no age limit”, notes Dennis. From nine-year-old girls who have faced more abuse in their lives than any adult could handle, to mature Christians who are going through situations that they never thought they’d have to face. Depression has many faces and Dennis has shared his story with hundreds. He hopes that with this new book, he will be able to share the hope he has found with hundreds more.
Be looking for the new book by Dennis Humphries, “Calvary Came Through” at a Christian Bookstore near you. Log on to www.hissongmusic.com for a touring schedule and more information on Hissong ministries.