Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Strange Place

Life is full of journeys taken. Some are full of anticipation and excitement. Some are full of dread and fear. A journey to Disneyworld is never like the journey which begins with someone saying, "I have some bad news." We have all had both kinds of journeys. We have been to the beach or to Disneyworld with the kids. We have also been the recipient of an unwanted late night phone call, or the one listening to a doctor speak words we did not want to hear. I remember the first journey I did not want to take. It was the journey which began with an Air Force chaplain and others arriving at our home telling my mother that her husband had been killed in a mid-air collision. At age seven it was not a journey I wanted to start, but starting was not an option.
The journey that started that December evening was also the first part of my journey toward God. It seems like a strange place to start the journey of faith, but hindsight tells me the faith I now have was in some way conceived in that moment. It was a moment I could not handle. I could not understand it. Why my Father would be killed was not something which made any sense at all. It became that moment which I not only remember as being filled with unspeakable tragedy, but also a moment in which I experienced my first real awareness that there had to be a God. Such an awareness, born out of that awful moment, set me forth on my journey of faith.
Oh, I know of what Wesley meant when he talked about prevenient grace. I know we are known by God before we know Him and that in that time of our not knowing Him, He is still offering grace and love to us. In a real sense our journey toward Him starts before we have any consciousness that it is happening. However, there is also the sense in which it started on that awful day of having to deal with what made no sense at all. There have been many moments of experiencing God's presence since those beginning struggling boyhood moments, but not for a long time have I doubted that God somehow used what I never would have chosen for good. Over the years I have learned that my experience is nothing unique. It is like yours. God truly does keep His Word to us. "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)


Kristin said...

Thank you for sharing this journey as I've been pondering over my own journey this week...this week I find myself saying a lot, "One year ago today." This week is significant in the lives of many in our is one year ago this week, the Lord rocked our world in ways we could not grasp or wrap our heart around. I'm reminded time and time again of Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I'm clinging to Jesus...believing He uses all things.

dawnp said...

Tragedy does come to all of us in so many unspeakable ways and I too have struggled with why? So with painful regret I denied God for too many years. When I finally stopped running from him I realized that he does use all these things to his purpose, but I must let him. It is difficult letting him use those parts of my life that I would rather not remember. That God can use my painful experiences for good, I too would not have chosen but in the battle that rages within me I am finding I am rejoicing in losing to Jesus as I become more desparate and overwhelmed with desire to cling to him.I thank God for his promises to me even before I knew him. It is hard to remember and to talk about those things that cause us pain. Thank-you for willingly sharing your journey of faith with us and for giving us this forum to share ours.

gracegirl said...

I in no way can touch the pain and devastation of beginning my faith journey by losing someone so dear to me. But I do recall the first opportunity I had for my faith to be shaken and the choice I had -- though at the time I didn't know it was a choice -- to either quit believing or get up and ride that faith bicycle again. It was the morning after the president was shot. I went to bed the night before asking God to let him live. And with every bit of confidence a 4 year old could muster, I marched into the kitchen the next morning assuring my parents that President Kennedy would indeed be okay because I had prayed about it, I'd asked God for it, and I believed it will all my heart. I realized as I got older that it was nothing short of the grace of God that allowed me to ask for anything again, because that was monumental to me. But if we're just going to do the safe thing and never ask God for anything huge, then this journey we're on is going to be nothing but b-o-r-i-n-g. Boring. And that's no way to live a life of faith.

Thanks, pastor, for sharing your heart and your own journey of faith.

RHUMC Music Ministries said...

Thank you for sharing your life in the journey notes.
I have felt that I have started another journey since I moved down here. It has been a totally different one but I am looking forward to seeing more how the Lord leads me and my family through this journey.
Before I forget to say on busy Sunday morning "Happy Father's day!" I miss my dad badly but I am very thankful to have many extended fathers around me. God knows whom I need. ^^