Each of has our own background. I want to tell you how God gave me life.
It may be hard to understand how hard it is for a baptized child in a church attending family to be nearly immune to God’s love.
My parents and siblings all had that problem.
The problem is that if someone shared the gospel with us, we would say we are already saved. I got baptized and went to church every week and even gave money to the church. My parents and many adults saw me as a good kid. I felt surely I was good. So hard to save me as it were.
We Were a Religious Family
My parents went to church and took us, but without my knowing, they hated believers. Believers made them feel uncomfortable. Somehow, they did not see the power of the Cross.
My parents had both been hurt as children in dysfunctional families. Both my parents were naturally more rational than emotional, so they made the choice to bury and try to lessen all their emotions. This helped them as they did not know what to do with all their bad emotions as did not believe the Bible.
They loved their children, so gave them the gift of making sure they could not feel. To my surprise, they did this, so we would not get hurt.
I was born last of four, and their system was perfected. I was a rational child who my parents never asked how I felt. They wanted to starve out my emotions and make them wither and go away. In my earliest memories at age 4, I had no emotions and thought kids who acted silly were childish. I was an outstanding student through 6th grade.
So by the time I was 11, I remember seeing the world and my future as blackness. It was a really bad and hopeless feeling that I ran from.
God Gave Me Life. He Saved Me
In the Lutheran church, they quote from Martin Luther that God saves us by faith alone, and the truth is in the Bible. I somehow believed. But so fuzzy. In my continued darkness and finally in depression in October of 8th grade, I started to read the Bible every night before I went to bed. Lynne Addison, a Sunday school teacher, gave each of us a Good News Bible. I wore that Bible out. Shockingly, my parents and siblings never said a word about my depression or Bible reading. Unfortunately, I would never have known about their depression either.
At the end of 8th grade, I suddenly realized my grades were just A’s and B’s!
I said to myself, “Jim, you can do better than this.” My depression was over.
God Gave Me Life – The Darkness Melted Away
The Bible and the God within gradually became my light in a dark world. Psalms 119:105 says
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
That so describes my life in high school. Amazingly, the Bible and growing faith gave my life meaning and purpose. By 11th grade, the Bible was indispensable to me. The Bible showed people telling others about God. Strangely, in my family and the culture I lived in, no one ever talked about faith or anything personal for that matter.
I Asked God For a Place in His Big Work
Then and there, I told God that I would be happy with my life if I could help one person find life in Christ. Then, I asked if He could let me do at least that. Additionally, I started memorizing Bible verses and could recite 60 passages before I went to college.
Years later, I finished high school with straight A’s . I graduated 20 out of 569 kids. As I left for college, I felt I had had a perfect childhood as succeeded in school, in sports, in Boy Scouts and found life in Christ.
Part 2 next week