I grew up in the church, but I first accepted Christ when I was 17, after a friend invited me to a youth group. In my college years, I thought I was Called to full time Christian service, and I left engineering school to attend Bible College. During my first on-staff position at a church, the church began to struggle financially. I stayed on for 5 years, believing that things would change, but then my wife became pregnant unexpectedly. I could not find a way to cover our medical costs, so I resigned from the church and took a job at a local factory. I felt heart-broken to leave a career that I had worked and prepared for, and
I felt like I had no “fall-back” job plan.
I was angry at God, and my relationship with Him went into a tailspin. I was in my mid 20’s, married for 5 years, and expecting our first child. It should have been the happiest time of my life, but I was feeling lost and hopeless. I was devastated that while I had tried to do everything “right,” it had all ended so badly. I felt abandoned and betrayed by God – as though He had led me toward a future that turned out to be a dead end. I also felt lonely. Not wanting to speak negatively of my former employer, I kept my struggles to myself, seldom sharing my disappointment or sadness. I never stopped believing that God was real, but for years I felt as though His Love and Promises were true for others, but they were just not true for me. I found that I had deep and painful doubts about whether I even mattered to God at all.
Around the time that our oldest son was born, we began to attend Adamsville Road Church of God. At home, I would try to pray, but I would sit in silence: I had absolutely no words. I’ve been a musician since I was a child, and I found that I began to sense God’s presence in worship music, even when I felt that I could not pray any other way. That’s one of the reasons I’m involved with music at Adamsville Road today. I believe that sometimes God meets with us in music and worship, even when our own barriers keep us from connecting with Him in other ways.
At Adamsville Road, I also found people with authentic and healthy relationships. People who truly loved God, but people who could also be honest and laugh at their own mistakes. Slowly at first, but more and more as the years wore on, I began to notice that Christ was bringing healing in my relationship with Him. I started to see that Jesus actually did love me, and that He had loved me even in my darkest times. I began to pray and read the Bible again. I saw Bible stories in a new way. I found many examples of people like me, who had to trust God even when God’s plan didn’t make sense, like Abraham or Job. Some Bible characters spent years wandering in the “wilderness” not knowing what God was preparing them for, like Moses. I think we live in a society so focused on short-term “success” that we sometimes skip to a happy ending and miss the long struggles and disappointments that were part of many Bible characters’ lives.
Over the last several years, I’ve had the chance to teach the Bible to several different age groups of children and youth at Adamsville Road. Each time I open the Bible to study or to teach, I’m amazed at how to us the characters are. There are probably many others who are still struggling with frustration with God or doubt of God’s love. I pray that they will find a place where we can be honest about our struggles. I pray they find the truth that Jesus never stops loving us, even in our disappointments.