It's not easy being a Christian today in a year that has been so decimated with violence, hate, racial intolerance, uncontrollable pandemic, and little access to church. No, it's not easy. I would be lying to myself if I were to say that I have been the closest to God in these times.
There have been times that I've skipped prayers at meals, hurried through bedtime prayer, and missed online services. But lately, I have been trying to right the ship. One of my bucket lists in life has been to read the entire Bible, and I have been doing that now for the last week. I have a Bible reading plan that allows you to read it within ninety days. I am almost through Genesis. Even though I made it all the way through Deuteronomy before, read the book of Job, Matthew through Acts and Revelation in the New Testament, that still leaves a large chuck that has gone unread.
When we are at our weakest point spiritually, that is when we need God the most. I dedicate this post to my friend Christina, who suggested that I write a Christian post. As Christians, we aren't always the best with sharing the Word with others. We are scared that we will offend others with God's word, when really we are only trying to spread good news. In a world where we don't want to offend anyone, Christians are more apt to stay silent than ever before.
But isn't good news just what we need after article and article of bad news? We are all sinful by nature and Jesus came here to to die for our sins in order to forgive those sins. He descended into hell and three days later he rose again, beating the devil and all his works. He sits at the right hand of the Father for the day awaiting the day we return to him.
I am not here to offend you. And if you are of a scientific mind, that is fantastic. As a writer and a thinker, I also think that way. So if we look at the story of Jesus, let's look at the facts. Jesus Christ did exist. He was crucified. He did talk in parables about the kingdom of heaven. That much we know. But there is a faith element to it, one that we need to believe that he followed through with his promises as documented in the Bible.
I believe that when my aunt told me she saw my deceased grandmother in her car while she she drove down a wooded path. My grandma told her she was okay and that she was in a better place. I believe that. I believe when I had a dream about her, she told me she was in heaven. I believe that too.
Facts aside, I have always felt stronger, healthier, richer when I was closest to God. But God doesn't go away when we fall away from him. He gives us signs to come back, just like how my friend suggested I write this. There are signs. God isn't to blame when things go wrong in our lives. He isn't there for us one minute when things go right and not there for us when things don't. He is meant to help us through the bad times as much as he is to bless us with the good.
When I was a senior at Eastern Illinois University, I had a dream and God was in it. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my journalism degree at that time, and in the dream I was sitting in a classroom. God said to me, "You shouldn't be here. You should be teaching English." Now here I am, teaching English. How did I get to that point? Well, God helped me out again. I had that dream in 2008. I didn't get an English teaching job until 2014. I was at a customer service position and was praying that I get an English position that I applied for. Right after I finished praying, I received a phone call about the position, offering me the job. Now if that's not an answer to my prayers, I don't know what is.
I mostly write about writing and teaching in these blogs, so I will close this with relating it to that topic. Stephen King often entangles Christianity into his horror work. There is a constant battle in our lives between good and evil. I tend to model some of my work against his, and so in my first book, I also injected some Christian teaching in there. But the good versus evil theme in literature is nothing new. We all have inner conflicts we are dealing with. But we can't be too proud to allow God into our lives. It was refreshing to write this post.
My second book, Faith Journey expresses my faith and the faith of others, such as my friend's Christina. It talks about real experiences contained in short anecdotes, poems, and photos and is now available on Amazon for 2.99 (Kindle) and 19.99 (Paperback). I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.