The first step in coming back to faith was simple.
God called to me.
The second step was also simple, I had to respond. I won’t get into the theological aspects of the order in Heaven, I was not even aware there might be such a thing at that moment in time.
I responded to God with a very simple set of steps.
I bowed my knee, I bowed my head, and I prayed, “God if you will forgive me and take me back, OK. But, you know you will be taking back a mess of a man, and a mess of my life.”
That began a long and difficult journey. For me that is. I don’t think it was difficult for God. He probably laughed at just how difficult I made the journey.
So for a couple of years, I helped out at churches. I enjoyed teaching Sunday School to kids. Mostly High School kids. They really thought I knew all the answers there were about dating.
Most of my answers went something like, “Well. You won’t know if she/he likes you until you ask. And I can promise you, you won’t be the first to get a ‘yes,’ or a ‘no.’ I have gotten both.”
Then I went to Korea.
As a simple, and I hope quick, side note: I learned in Korea that most men do not want to cheat on their wives. I know the world tells us that we men do cheat and love it. But, I watched way too many of my married male friends struggle just as much as I did to not mess around. And there was opportunity.
When I came home ‘on leave,’ I visited a Baptist Church for Easter. And God called me to ministry.
Now, you need to remember, I was a soldier.
I really thought God did not know what he meant. Or, my other thought was I misunderstood. And those times I thought he might know what he had told me, I reminded myself that I have a powerful disability.
God has a way of changing the way you think and feel.
About two years later, I was headed to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home of the Airborne, hooo-ah. And my corvette began having problems, again.
I stopped at an Army Base. I checked what I could at the shop. And then I went to the ‘hotel’ on base. The next afternoon, I thought, “This is such a beautiful DAY! I can’t do anything but go and grab a six pack or two from the class-6 (liquor store).
I had walked about 200 yards, when a voice, did you guess it was that voice again? Well, that voice said, “You will go to church tonight.”
This time I didn’t curse God. But, I did negotiate with him something like this:
“My car is broke down, I do have a friend here, but I don’t know if he is even home. Besides, what would a couple of cold beers and a nice long conversation with you hurt? What would be more important than my talking the afternoon away with my God?”
“Call your friend.”
I started turning around.
“And one more thing, you will listen to these songs tonight.”
If you have ever been to a Baptist Church, you have heard them. And shortening up the story a little bit, wait, I have to add in the important part of this story.
My friend was in the phone book. And he answered his phone. And he said, “Sure, I would love to come pick you up for church tonight.”
You think you know where this is going. I thought I knew, just as well as you do right now.
We got to church.
They played the first three songs, and I sang.
And I wondered, “OK God? What are you up to. Why have you given me a specific prophecy?”
One of the deacons (an elder in the church) introduced the pastor. He had been a tanker in the Army, just like I had been in Korea. A he man’s ‘he man.’
This was their pastor’s tenth year anniversary.
He got to the pulpit and began to speak. He began to thank them.
I immediately crossed my arms. I feel the emotion as if it was yesterday.
Internally, I cried out, “God! What are you doing to me. You know this is not fair. I am a cry baby at times. You do not want an emotional man preaching to your people.”
And I thought of the mistake Moses had made. God did not have to prompt me. I knew I did not want him to replace me with someone who would make great mistakes. I knew my emotional ‘disability’ was his business now.
At the end of the service, they played the last song. Kinda like one chance in 8 billion ….
I did get a degree in Mathematics …. Just do not ask me to subtract.
I went down the aisle, and I surrendered to His ministry.
I had a real problem.
No, it does not matter to my faith if God did or did not use Evolution to create the Heavens and the Earth. My Faith was in Jesus, not Science.
But, I still had a very big problem. I love Science. And I am fascinated by it.
I duplicated a major mathematical ‘law’ when I was in seventh grade. I really am a GEEK …. But, I did not know that i had done that for about 30 years.
I needed to analyze Evolution and Genesis and figure out how they fit together. I knew they fit together. But, Science, and yes, many ‘Theologians’ told me that they did not fit together.
We will see about that won’t we?