Love Christian Life


No God, Only Man Searching for Answers 

Most of my life I didn’t really believe in God. I went to church all through my childhood but I didn’t get it. When I read in the Bible during Sunday school it meant absolutely nothing to me. There were too many variations and discrepancies between the various denominations and even between the ministers within the Methodist church I attended.

College added to my lack of religious conviction. The professor would talk about times when everyone spoke to God. At that particular time in history it was not only fashionable to have direct conversation with God but also necessary. If people didn’t talk with God (God would speak back to them verbally) they were chastised and sometime shackled in the town square for public ridicule. During other time periods religion took on other legalistic forms. There was no consistency and so much human control and manipulation that it was often plain to see that God wasn’t the main consideration.

Kicking and Screaming

I wasn’t coming to God so God very generously lead me to him. No one was going to convince me to blindly believe in a God. How could God let so much human suffering go on and why wouldn’t he just come down and say here I am. Now listen.  

I was raised with a strong sense of morals and I was always a very honest person. I can’t just fake a belief to go along with the crowd. 

After living life to what I thought was the fullest, there came a time when things just fell apart. I had a good job and a wife and two kids just like the all American dream. My goals were very much money (success) oriented as well as family. I liked to read the “how to become successful books”, buy real estate, trade stocks aggressively and do just about anything legal that would build my empire. It’s funny how I was dealt one severe blow after another keeping me from achieving those goals. 

One day I remember standing in my office using the mother of all bad words, frequently, to describe my situation and most people. I was ready to quit work, my family and I became absolutely desperate for some help. I had to look back in my yearbook to make sure I had received the award for the best natured in my high school class. How did I get to where I just wanted to run away? I became an expert at pointing my finger and finding other peoples faults, particularly my wife’s. Without getting into too much detail I can honestly say I was taken to my knees. I was ready to throw in the towel. 

My sister Shirley asked me to attend an Al-Anon meeting. I certainly wouldn’t have been open to attending church, even in my desperate state. I agreed to go to one meeting. The people there seemed to know my problems without me having to say a word. There was something in that room that I needed to explore further. There was no way for this group to profit from me joining their group. Why did they want to take me in? They were a sincere group of individuals who cared about me and knew what I was going through. The group teaches you to take a good look at your own actions and to stop pointing out everyone else’s faults. I started to attend meetings on a regular basis. 

The 12 steps in Al-Anon are the same as in AA. They lead you toward a higher power, occasionally referred to as God in the books. I wasn’t ready for that yet and I needed to start with the understanding that the group was my higher power. There was something they all had that I couldn’t understand and to me, that was a power greater than mine. 

After a year or so I began to notice certain people in my group progressed much faster than others. Some had been there 12 years or more and seemed to make very little progress. The group members I respected and wanted to emulate had a strong relationship with God and would sometimes discuss this in our group meetings. I thought to myself maybe I need to check this out some more.  

My Sister Asked Me to Pray to God and Ask Him to Reveal Himself to Me

That was the major turning point in my belief. I seriously prayed to God because I truly wanted to believe but could not and would not believe unless I had a solid base for my beliefs. For me, blind faith was not enough. There were an amazing number of things that happened as I started to pray to God. Often very subtle things would happen when I prayed. Sometimes it was enough to make the hair stand up on my arms. I received answers to all my prayers in some form or manner.

My next big step was a challenge to read a chapter of the Bible. It happened to be The Book of John. I decided I would accept the challenge and rip apart the book that was written for the weak and naïve. I thought for sure I could find enough fault to be able to toss the book aside because of its inaccuracies and conflicting statements. 

I was amazed at what I had found and quickly proceeded to other chapters.  I thought for sure I would find mistakes, obviously flawed thinking and some type of corrupt thinking within its pages. 

I was very surprised to find such a consistent theme of nothing but good ideas, suggestions, beliefs and guidance. In my eyes there is absolutely no way 40 different authors could conspire to write a perfectly moral guide book for mankind over hundreds of years and get it right. I needed to know more. 

I started to read other books and listen to tapes along with my continual reading of the Bible. 

The next challenge presented to me was to attend church. Been there done that. Once again I thought I would find inconsistency and fault. I had already experienced many conflicts within the church’s I attended and among ministers and priests. I agreed to attend First Central. I left my first service saying that I felt good and something felt right. The service was different from anything I had experienced. I continued to pray to God asking him to reveal himself and I was looking forward to attending the next service. I had been broken and was in need of some serious rebuilding. I don’t believe I would have been so attentive had I not experienced the trials that brought me to me knees. I started to understand how God works in one’s life and why it is so much easier for the needy to find and understand God. 

One of the major turning points in my life was the concept that the Bible is God’s word and our instruction book for living. I was reading the Life Recovery Bible (new living translation). It was easy to understand and I was certainly open at this point in my life to help and guidance. Everything in the Bible was good, certainly not what I would expect from man. 

I attended several more services and absolutely loved them (not a plug). Everything was coming together and consistent. There wasn’t one pastor telling me one set of rules and another telling me something else. Everyone was on the same page. 

I attended Christianity 101. Many more amazing things happened as I attended these classes. I remember deciding to accept Christ into my life but I needed some clarification on a few things. I was ready that Sunday but I needed to be really sure I knew what I doing. That same day I attended Pastor Doug’s 101 class prior to church. He accidentally taught this days lesson out of sequence which just happen to contain all the information I prayed on during my drive to church. At the end of the lesson Doug said he didn’t understand why he had gone to that lesson. I had to explain that it was just my prayers being answered. I received Jesus Christ into my life on 12/17/00. 

From Here it’s All Downhill 

I thought it would all be cake from this point on. Wrong again. I would take 3 steps forward and 2 ½ steps back. I didn’t realize I was about to change so much in my life and I certainly didn’t know how difficult it would be. I once thought I had such a strong sense of morals until I read more and more of God’s word. I began to realize just what a sick and worldly life I had been leading. The layers of blindfolds were being removed gradually as I was able to cope with them. 

I thought I was going to have to give up so much. I could no longer do many of the fun things I thought were so important to me. Gradually I came to realize I wasn’t giving up anything. I was adding so much more to my life. I look back at some of the things I used to worship and I wonder what I was thinking. I really thank God for being so tolerant. Understanding why Jesus died on the cross is so apparent now I feel like I was just fitted with a new pair of glasses. 

There are times I still feel like running away. I sometimes get scared with my walk but most of the time it’s because I am focusing on mankind instead of God’s word. I just hope God is patient enough with me to let me build my house (faith) on solid ground instead of hastily building a flashy house in the sand. 

Russ R