Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near?
Don’t worry I am not going to break out in to song even though I love the Carpenters’ “Close to You”. Nope but Why is the focus of this blog post and in particular why is my reconnection with my Christian faith and my returning to trusting God this time is the real thing. The answer is as follows:
In my testimony I mentioned that I spent the first 22-ish years of my life going to church, being involved in church and also as a teenager Christian youth work. I can remember giving my life to Christ at a church concert when the altar call came and I remember my baptismal service when I was teen. The thing is that looking back on my life during those years going to church and being a Christian is just what I did, mostly on Sundays but sometimes in the evenings when there was a church thing going on that I was involved in. It wasn’t so much a choice as it was what I was brought up doing and when I got to the age where if I wanted to stop I could have I carried on because I had friends at church. The thing is that back then I never really had that day to day relationship with God, in truth whilst I have forgotten much of my teenage years I doubt that I prayed daily and certainly wasn’t an ambassador for God in my everyday life. And whilst I could point to this or that as to why I never had that deep rooted faith it comes down to me and is why I ended up dropping out of church.
But then there was a time in my 30s when I briefly returned to the church. The thing is that I may have re-entered the church building, semi dragged in off the street by an old friend, but I wasn’t letting God back in to my life. Even though my life was at that point a complete mess having got in to debt and was dealing with the end of a long relationship I was holding on to control. It is why I can now look back at those few months where I attended church and realise I was there wanting a miracle, for my problems to disappear whilst also seeking friendships to fill the void left in my life when the relationship came to an end. And it is why when another problem rose up in my life I walked away from church, a little angry that things were getting worse not better.
Now I come to the end of 2017 and the reason why I know that this time things are very different. And it comes down to the simple fact that at a time where I was feeling low I ended up seeking God. No one talked me in to doing it, I didn’t do it because it was what I did, I did it as I ended up needing God, crying out in my weakness for him to take over my mess of a life as I couldn’t deal with it on my own. My return to faith owes a lot to the book “The Power of Positive Thinking” as despite having tossed it to one side after chapter 1 when I first got it some thing drew me back to that book weeks later. And through the stories and guidance in it I realised I needed God back in my life and more importantly in charge of it.
But it doesn’t stop there for me as over the next few weeks, before returning to church, I found my life changing. No the things which were troubling me didn’t get miraculously sorted, but I found myself desiring to spend as much time as I could getting to know God all over again. I prayed every time some thing troubled me. I was reading the bible and seeking answers. I found things I once desired no longer were important to me and my whole attitude of me first alongside bitterness towards others pretty much disappeared, and trust me I was an incredibly bitter person right up until that moment I cried out to God. And that yearning, that desire to seek God and understand his word, which drives me on now, was giving me that personal, day to day relationship with God that I now realise I never had, a desire to rely on God rather than deal with things through my own strength and understanding.
It is why as I write this I might not understand why some of these messes I made of my life had to happen but I know God is using them not just to guide me but also to hopefully help others. And to finish with: for me the one of the big lessons I have learned from all this is that as a Christian I need to have that personal relationship with God, through daily bible study and prayer because with out that it is so easy to become distracted by what life is offering.