Thursday, April 28, 2005

My Path - Part 2

Yesterday I talked a bit about how I accepted Christ at an early age, and through my formative years hung to that belief without having fully answered the questions my friends started asking in high school. When I then moved on to college, I found myself adapting to the environment instead of staying true to what I'd held through my life up until then.

Needless to say, God doesn't take kindly to people turning their backs on Him. Fortunately for us, He cares too much to let us walk off the proverbial cliff. As school, work and relationships all started heading south, He was merciful. In fact, I think part of His mercy was allowing me to reap the fruits of my choices. The more I saw things fall apart, the more I realized I needed to return to my faith of old. Not because I wanted things to be sunshine and roses (though I usually do.) Rather, I realized that it was right to be with God and wrong to put Him aside.

So I took a bold step. With the encouragement of my girlfriend (now wife) and family, I left the secular environment of the U of M for the restorative environment of Northwestern College. This coincided with a change in my major from business to communication, and Northwestern has a very good program in that area. In addition, all Northwestern students are required to major in Bible along with their major of choice (my degree from there is a double major in Bible and Communication - Broadcasting emphasis.) I finally started to get answers to some of those questions I'd been asking, from some very sharp professors and my fellow students.

Soon thereafter I took another bold step (though it was a very easy decision on my part) to marry my beloved girlfriend of 3 years. We began attending a good Bible believing/preaching church. Through all of this, I began to pay more attention to the scripture again. I saw that my faith need not be based on Dad's preaching, wonderful though that may be. It became clear that, contrary to popular belief, Christianity was a rational religion. I didn't have to check my mind at the door to believe. This was important to me; I have little patience for superstition and folly. In addition, I realized the depth of the truth of Christianity - truth became the focal point for me, and the importance of truth became evident.

None of this resolved some of my problems though. Returning to faith, this time my own and earned through study and reasoning through problems, didn't remove the financial or work woes, and it didn't bring back friendships that had ended. That took time, and a great deal more work. In some respects, over a decade later, I'm still dealing with the fallout of a few years walking on my own. God didn't let me off the hook where the consequences of my actions was concerned. But I knew through it that I was no longer "alone."

This isn't a terribly exciting story. I wasn't a drug-using-adulterer-abuser-violent-guy-turned-angel. I didn't lose all my worldly posessions, only to have them immediately restored when I came back as a prodigal son. To the outsider, I was just, more or less, a decent guy who changed his worldview a couple of times and had to deal with some rough times.

But when I came back, I know that Jesus found it exciting. I was welcomed back to the family. And in truth, when anyone is saved, even from a "boringly good" life, Heaven rejoices. What seems dull to us is really important to God. I have a friend who was saved from a very rough background who tells me he is almost envious of my testimony. I think mine is less, well...impressive than his. But God performs a miracle of grace each time He redeems one of us from our chosen rebellion. Nothing about that is boring, no matter how dull we human folk find it.

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