Monday, December 31, 2007

Stages of Faith

"What stages has your faith gone through?"

I had faith from even before my birth in Christ. I always knew somehow that someone was watching out for me for some reason. I couldn't really put my finger on God for that, because I didn't really know Him. As a result, I flitted about from false religion to false religion to no religion at all for a large portion of my life. But this doesn't mean I had no faith. It was merely misplaced faith.

At one point, I was involved in the New Age movement. You know, "I am that I Am," and all of that. I was getting into the candles and the crystals, thinking that I could channel the power inherent in them to bring my life under my control. You can't, you know. I don't know of anyone who has gone that route who has been able to get their life under their control by sheer force of will. Since we're all unfinished business, we usually end up fouling up what we have control over. Or, at least, what we think we have control over.

The next stage of my faith was my attempt at following Christ while mired in denominations. I was still in the Marines at that time, and on my dog tags under religious preference I had entered "Christian." I knew denominationalism is wrong, but I couldn't quantify it. Just as importantly, I didn't know how to find other people who believed the same way to worship with. So I prayed about it.

As I wrote earlier, I met Tommy Thompson at a swimming pool party in Santa Cruz, CA back in 1989. It was Tommy who taught me about the Lord's church, about denominationalism and about baptism. He baptized me and helped me further both my knowledge and my faith.

I left Santa Cruz in 1992 to go sing with a singing group in Arkansas and immediately my faith leaped to another level. I'd never been on the road with a Christian singing group before, so I got to learn many new things. In singing with several singing groups now, along with Christian education, the added knowledge along with experience has brought my faith to unbelievable levels.

Ironically, the thing that did the most to build my faith was my divorce in 2000. I remember a family taking me in and sharing their roof and food with me while I looked for housing. I remember waking up with a bible in my hand, reading through teary eyes. I remember praying with a soggy voice to a God that I know was the only hope in that dark time. I recall being reminded that God always answers, but sometimes the answer is "no."

Somehow, I was brought through the other side. I don't know how God did it, but here I am. And that has brought me farther along than just about anything else I've been through. I think it helped me to minister to jail inmates in their dark times. We share something in common, they and I. Rock bottom can be a real bear.

1 comment:

Tammie's Thoughts said...

Praise the Lord you've come up from Rock Bottom! He does have a way of walking with us and watching over us even when we do not realize it and maybe some times when we do not want it (I pray this is true for my children's sake!) and that one day He will somehow get their attention and bring them back to Him.

God's richest blessings on you in 2008! We'd love to see you!

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