When I had completed reading the 12 books of the "Left Behind" series I was left with a hunger to know more. Now I know the series was a fictional story but my heart and spirit knew there was some real Truth in there. What exactly, I was not sure. I needed some direction to go in. There was a fire kindling in me and it seemed only logical to read the Bible; Old Testament and New Testament. So I started on page 1 of the Old Testament and quickly became bogged down in what seemed like a reading assignment I had given myself. After muddling my way through the first 5 Books I needed a new strategy. In my mind I was going to read the Bible from cover to cover and then I would know "it". That was me once again thinking I know best.
So I embarked on reading the New Testament. I was excited! This was uncharted territory for me. Something almost forbidden in my upbringing or at the least not openly discussed. I opened the Bible to the Gospel of Matthew and behold! I did not burst in to flames!
Now I started reading with a bit of skepticism. I was waiting for a reason to throw the book across the room and declare that the Christians really are just a bunch of kooks that didn't think God was good enough on His own. It's been a couple years now and I have not found anything in the Bible I disagree with. Just consider the arrogance of that last sentence! Exactly who do I think I am? How easy it is to exalt myself and congratulate myself. A more accurate way to say it is; I have found a great number of things in the Bible I do not understand and that is where the internet, study bibles and solid brothers and sisters in Christ come in to help.
I stated my simple answer as to what did I believe in was "nothing". Of course that is an over-simplification of what I really discovered about myself. My first novice conclusion I came to was that I believed in the dollar. Money was what I believed in. That the only people who didn't worry about money were those that had enough of it. But that is not what I really believed. I said to people that the dollar had failed us and they would nod in knowing agreement. That's too easy an excuse I have come to believe. How convenient to blame something or someone else for all the lies I told myself. All the lies I wanted to believe. It's like whistling in the dark or hoping that if I don't move I won't be seen.
What I found in the pages of Scripture was the Truth. Words that touched my heart and the very essence of my soul. There were numerous "aha!" moments as I read every day. Just ask my petrified wife laying next to me in bed at night who thought I was going off the deep end. There were thoughts and phrases that made so much sense to me. Things I knew deep deep inside but were never cohesive thoughts until I read the bold words that humble men had dared to record. Men who believed so strongly that they would lay their lives down for God. I wanted to believe in something with that kind of abandon. Not reckless but something so rich and full and life-giving. Something that would dispel all the lies and not masquerade as truth.
(to be continued)