Today’s Guest Post by my 16 year old son. The following is the text from his faith story that he told in church this morning. You can also watch it here.
It was a Sunday unlike any other. It was sunny, and the birds were humming the echoing sounds of the last hymn as I sat waiting in the pastors office. Sitting next to me was my best friend, and we both had stood up in front of the whole church, as 7-year olds, and said we believed in Jesus, and were ready to be baptized. Coming from a Covenant church, that was how it was done. As soon as I jumped in that tub, I held my nose and closed my eyes, only to hear, not yet, kid. But what happened there was a transformation that I wouldnt realize, unfortunately until much later in life.
Next Sunday, I sat in Childrens Church feeling unchanged. All these grown-ups were congratulating me and I had no idea why. And like a machine I, for what seemed like the millionth time, answered all of the leaders questions about the bible story correctly, and got to play on the playground; same as the week before, and the week before that.
Then, in 6th grade as I was sitting down to lunch with a friend of mine, he proceeded to tell me how wrong and stupid I was for believing in any religion. Up to this point I had thought everyone was a Christian, everyone believed in God, and everyone was a nice person. I stood up for my faith, sitting on the edge of the bench staring him in the eyes while my other friends sat there and watched. But he shut me down; he essentially ripped my power cord out of the wall. I was distraught. Then began the doubt.
Fast-forward about a year, and flip my life on its head, and thats where I was when I moved to Glendale: new town, new school, new just about everything else. I remember thinking as I first stepped into Glendale Presbyterian Church, I dont want to be here. Why is my mom making me go through this? Why am I walking into a building I have no memory of ever being in? Then all of a sudden, I got a holy smack across the face; during the benediction I hear a little something down the row. I turned my head and saw my mom crying. Us kids thought this was weird: we had never seen my mom cry in church before. That benediction just happened to be: “You go nowhere by accident, Wherever you go God is sending you .” I only today realize the significance of that.
Whatever God did it must have worked, because here I am today. I stand humbled before you relatively unscathed, and ready for a next step. Today is the day that I am replanted in good soil. Growing up in love and Christ. Growing up stronger than ever. Since that moment, God has called me to various service opportunities that have changed lives, most importantly mine.
Jesus became my big brother, guiding me when I had no idea who anyone was. Challenging me, confronting me, checking up on me, teaching me, and no matter what he had my back, even when I told him to his face that he didnt love me and he was just as fake as an Elvis impersonator. One thing that to this day I want to do is emulate what Jesus did, in the big brother sense, to my little brother the best I know how, and to the best of my abilities.
My faith started like many who grew up in the church. What became an easy say-the-right-answer, monotonous hour before I got to play with my friends has, over the years, turned into a radical lifestyle that I would not give up for the world. Thats the beauty of the gospel. Isnt it? That omnipresence of God in time and space: what happens one moment may be the fuel you need to carry on later in life.