My own journey as a Christian

ebenz47037

Proverbs 31:10
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As most of you know, I've been with TOL since before my husband passed away in January of 1999. Before Steve died, I considered myself strong in my faith. I wasn't as strong as I thought. I blamed God for Steve dying. He was a 39 year old man who died instantly from a massive stroke. He was part of my reason for living. At his funeral, a lot of people came up to me telling me that God must have a really huge plan for me because, 30 years old, I had gone through so much. All those words did for me was to make me question my faith more and more. I didn't want to believe in a God who would take everything from me just because he "had a plan for my life." I thought about all of that for two years and came on the verge of giving up my Christian faith because of it. Like so many people, I could easily blame my failing faith on what others said or did to me. All they did was make me question more and more why I believed in such a God.

Then, I went to visit my brother. My brother was a youth pastor at the time. He told me that I needed to open my eyes and realize that God doesn't cause everything to happen. But, He will use everything that happens to test and/or strengthen His children. Except for TOL, I had never heard that before. When I got home from visiting my brother, my dear friends on TOL started telling me the same thing my brother did. The difference was, this time, I chose to pay attention to what they said to me. Within two weeks, I decided to rededicate myself to God and to look at what I was going through as more of a test than as someone I loved being taken away from me.

Now, sixteen (almost seventeen) years later, I can honestly say that my faith in God is stronger than it ever has been. I have come to realize that what my brother told me was true. I have also come to realize that my faith is my own. No one can cause me to stumble or fall by what they say or do to me. Some people can cause me to question my faith. But, what I do after that is my responsibility. And, I cannot with all honesty blame others for the things I choose to do with my life.
 

patrick jane

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Awesome story Ebenz !!! I have reached a place in my faith in the last few years where I will never again question or doubt in God or my faith. I remember how I felt and thought before that and it wasn't good.
 

bybee

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As most of you know, I've been with TOL since before my husband passed away in January of 1999. Before Steve died, I considered myself strong in my faith. I wasn't as strong as I thought. I blamed God for Steve dying. He was a 39 year old man who died instantly from a massive stroke. He was part of my reason for living. At his funeral, a lot of people came up to me telling me that God must have a really huge plan for me because, 30 years old, I had gone through so much. All those words did for me was to make me question my faith more and more. I didn't want to believe in a God who would take everything from me just because he "had a plan for my life." I thought about all of that for two years and came on the verge of giving up my Christian faith because of it. Like so many people, I could easily blame my failing faith on what others said or did to me. All they did was make me question more and more why I believed in such a God.

Then, I went to visit my brother. My brother was a youth pastor at the time. He told me that I needed to open my eyes and realize that God doesn't cause everything to happen. But, He will use everything that happens to test and/or strengthen His children. Except for TOL, I had never heard that before. When I got home from visiting my brother, my dear friends on TOL started telling me the same thing my brother did. The difference was, this time, I chose to pay attention to what they said to me. Within two weeks, I decided to rededicate myself to God and to look at what I was going through as more of a test than as someone I loved being taken away from me.

Now, sixteen (almost seventeen) years later, I can honestly say that my faith in God is stronger than it ever has been. I have come to realize that what my brother told me was true. I have also come to realize that my faith is my own. No one can cause me to stumble or fall by what they say or do to me. Some people can cause me to question my faith. But, what I do after that is my responsibility. And, I cannot with all honesty blame others for the things I choose to do with my life.

Amen Sister. Well said!
 

Jamie Gigliotti

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Thank you for sharing that testimony!

I've faced my own tests and dark nights of the soul, and undoubtedly we can come out with stronger faith.

Sadly some come out losing.

Teaching that trials and flaming arrows are coming help prepare us to find victory with the truth, the way and the life.
 
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Sherman

I eat Trolls, Spammers, and Loons
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Thank you for sharing. So true that outside influences are not so much responsible for our relationship with God. Blaming others for our lack of faith is a cop out.
 

alwight

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Now, sixteen (almost seventeen) years later, I can honestly say that my faith in God is stronger than it ever has been. I have come to realize that what my brother told me was true. I have also come to realize that my faith is my own. No one can cause me to stumble or fall by what they say or do to me. Some people can cause me to question my faith. But, what I do after that is my responsibility. And, I cannot with all honesty blame others for the things I choose to do with my life.
It's never been my way to try to dissuade anyone from a belief in a god since I accept the possibility myself, though I don't actually believe in one as such.
What I do question is people who are so sure of a particular and specific deity, as if they know for sure, when clearly (imo) they cannot know.
They may point to ancient scripture as if it were somehow conclusive evidence, they say that the Earth is only a few years old, never mind any scientific evidence, that life was created miraculously as it is today.
I would never question your belief in your God but I may dispute any such above specific claims if you were to make them.

I would suggest that you are someone who can and does rightly doubt your own beliefs, but for me the God of many YECs here on ToL is not worthy of your faith, that your God is much more sophisticated, subtle and worthy than that of a simplistic fundamentalist adherence to an ancient scripture.
 

chrysostom

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It's never been my way to try to dissuade anyone from a belief in a god since I accept the possibility myself, though I don't actually believe in one as such.
What I do question is people who are so sure of a particular and specific deity, as if they know for sure, when clearly (imo) they cannot know.
They may point to ancient scripture as if it were somehow conclusive evidence, they say that the Earth is only a few years old, never mind any scientific evidence, that life was created miraculously as it is today.
I would never question your belief in your God but I may dispute any such above specific claims if you were to make them.

I would suggest that you are someone who can and does rightly doubt your own beliefs, but for me the God of many YECs here on ToL is not worthy of your faith, that your God is much more sophisticated, subtle and worthy than that of a simplistic fundamentalist adherence to an ancient scripture.

so what kind of God could you or would you believe in?
 

PureX

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Fortunately, faith is usually not the issue. Dogma is.

When people have a "crisis of faith", what's usually going on is that the dogma they'd been taught, and maintained blindly for a long time, is proving itself inadequate, or just flat out wrong. They have wittingly or unwittingly accepted ideas about God that reality now countermands, and reality can sometimes be tough to deny. In this case the loss of a good husband.

All that's really required, here, is a change in the accepted dogma, to bring it more in line with our experience of reality.
 

ebenz47037

Proverbs 31:10
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I would suggest that you are someone who can and does rightly doubt your own beliefs, but for me the God of many YECs here on ToL is not worthy of your faith, that your God is much more sophisticated, subtle and worthy than that of a simplistic fundamentalist adherence to an ancient scripture.

You don't know how wrong you are about me, Al. I consider myself a fundamentalist, YEC (although I don't think the earth is just 6000 years old). Just because I don't often speak of my faith here doesn't mean it's as different as you seem to think it is.

1. I believe that the Bible is the written word of God, given to us through men that He inspired. I also believe that if what we read is not meant to be taken literally, the Bible will tell us so ("It was a vision/dream/etc"). I also believe that a great deal of the Bible is meant to teach us by reading the good and bad examples of men and women in the past.

2. I am a young-earth creationist. My beliefs on that are a little different than most people who claim to be a young-earth creationist. The Bible doesn't tell us how long God took to create the earth or how long it sat without form and void. But, I believe everything that the Bible says about Creation week.

3. I believe in a pre-trib rapture. I won't give my reasons for believing that.

4. I weep at the thought that people I care about will not be enjoying eternal life with God. But, I also realize that God doesn't force us to stay with Him. And, I also realize that, despite people wanting to blame their crisis of faith on the actions and words of people who are Christians, it is no one's responsibility but the one having the crisis of faith if they step away from God.

5. I no longer question my own faith. There is nothing that anyone could say or do to me to make me step away from God. You don't have to like it. You have no power over me or my decision to follow Christ.
 

alwight

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You don't know how wrong you are about me, Al. I consider myself a fundamentalist, YEC (although I don't think the earth is just 6000 years old). Just because I don't often speak of my faith here doesn't mean it's as different as you seem to think it is.

1. I believe that the Bible is the written word of God, given to us through men that He inspired. I also believe that if what we read is not meant to be taken literally, the Bible will tell us so ("It was a vision/dream/etc"). I also believe that a great deal of the Bible is meant to teach us by reading the good and bad examples of men and women in the past.

2. I am a young-earth creationist. My beliefs on that are a little different than most people who claim to be a young-earth creationist. The Bible doesn't tell us how long God took to create the earth or how long it sat without form and void. But, I believe everything that the Bible says about Creation week.

3. I believe in a pre-trib rapture. I won't give my reasons for believing that.

4. I weep at the thought that people I care about will not be enjoying eternal life with God. But, I also realize that God doesn't force us to stay with Him. And, I also realize that, despite people wanting to blame their crisis of faith on the actions and words of people who are Christians, it is no one's responsibility but the one having the crisis of faith if they step away from God.

5. I no longer question my own faith. There is nothing that anyone could say or do to me to make me step away from God. You don't have to like it. You have no power over me or my decision to follow Christ.
That's fine ebenz just don't complain if I dispute any YEC or fundamentalist claims made if I think that science or reality says something else.
Unlike what Chrys might suggest I have no problem with any Godly faith unless it seems to conflict with reality as it appears to be. I simply don't believe that a real God would be the fundamentalist's version, unless this were all just a grand illusion and deception.
 

Mocking You

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Ebenz, thanks for your testimony. It was a blessing to hear your faith has recovered and been strengthened. I lost a brother-in-law to brain cancer when he was 57. Thirty days from diagnosis to death. Faith-numbing experience.

God bless you.
 

ebenz47037

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That's fine ebenz just don't complain if I dispute any YEC or fundamentalist claims made if I think that science or reality says something else.
Unlike what Chrys might suggest I have no problem with any Godly faith unless it seems to conflict with reality as it appears to be. I simply don't believe that a real God would be the fundamentalist's version, unless this were all just a grand illusion and deception.

Have you ever seen me complain about what anyone says about YEC or fundamentalist beliefs? :nono:

I don't believe that there is any one religion that has all the answers. I believe that we'll find out the truth when we sit at Christ's feet.
 

alwight

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Have you ever seen me complain about what anyone says about YEC or fundamentalist beliefs? :nono:
You're right, no I haven't, but if you want to be known as a fundamentalist then I can imo reasonably dump some such baggage on you.
I don't think you can really expect to be allowed to fudge such explicit claims.

I don't believe that there is any one religion that has all the answers. I believe that we'll find out the truth when we sit at Christ's feet.
It could be that none have any real truth imo, but all the more reason to eschew fundamentalism perhaps?
 

Jamie Gigliotti

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You're right, no I haven't, but if you want to be known as a fundamentalist then I can imo reasonably dump some such baggage on you.
I don't think you can really expect to be allowed to fudge such explicit claims.

It could be that none have any real truth imo, but all the more reason to eschew fundamentalism perhaps?
You may think our religous/supernatural experiences with God's love and Spirit, which confirm what He says, to be anything other than the truth, but that does not mean that they are not exactly that.
 
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