Friday, August 20, 2004the light at the end of the tunnel, may be...
"The Lord...", I thought to myself one day. I had been through two years of anger and ungodliness and boom! just like that, the thought popped into my head (thank you Holy Spirit!) .
So I started going to church again. Being away from home, I chose a Baptist church. The preaching was OK, but I didn't know anyone in that church. There weren't too many people my age either, so the quality and quantity of fellowship I was getting was poor. It wasn't totally unprofitable mind you. I had started praying again, I was once again putting my nose in the Bible, and I had put an end to my drinking.
Loneliness was a problem though. I would read the Scriptures and tell myself: "yeah, this is all good and dandy...but am I expected to live this all by my little lonesome? No one my age or in my particular situation is living this way!"
So I would try to live right. Spend my time with God. Study hard. I was somewhat successful, but there was no joy, no happiness in my life. And that's when the Spirit went to work again.
Coming home from grocery shopping one night, I passed a large church. I had no idea what denomination it was, but in the front window was a schedule and on it were the following words: "College and Careers - Thursday 7 pm". "Hmmmm..." I thought, "might be worth checking out." So I did.
On Thursdays my classes ended early, so I hopped on a bus and just rode it around town until 7 pm. I would do that from time to time. Just ride around town, thinking about my problems (some real, some imagined), and generally felt sorry for myself (pretty pathetic huh?). Anyway, at 6:30 pm I made it to the church. My expectations weren't at all high. I imagined myself sitting next to two or three University freshmen and having a quiet Bible study.
As I sat down and looked around. Sure enough, there was about three or four students also seated. But as 7 pm approached more students started entering.
I couldn't believe it!!! By 7 pm, there were about 100 students crammed into a small room of what I would later find out was an Associated Gospel Church. We all sang some hymns and then a young lady went up to the front and said:
"Ok, it's time for introductions, so we'll go around a get everyone's names."
At first I was afraid of standing out as the "College and Careers newbie", but to my surprise there were other newbies that night. When my turn came, I gave my first name and the young lady replied:
"You're new here aren't you?"
"Yeah", I answered
Then, as per their tradition, they all clapped to welcome me to the group. The whole meeting was uplifting. The hymns, the study, the prayer, and the fellowship was just what I needed. I left the church that night, and for the first time in years, I was happy. I actually felt good.
Little did I know at the time that that first meeting would be the beginning of an incredible spiritual voyage...and little did I know that the young lady who welcomed me that night would one day be my wife and the mother of my children.
to be continued...