After the events of November 1982, I spent some time searching. I wanted to know this God who had revealed Himself to me as a personal God.
The only religion I was familiar with was Christianity, but I didn’t immediately turn to this “default religion.” The search I was about to undertake wasn’t just about finding a set of beliefs I was comfortable with; it was about finding the truth.
So I spent the next few months studying religions, New Age, Wicca and other even more esoteric belief systems. I rejected out-of-hand the ones based on “human potential” and those that weren’t based on a god you could relate to on a personal level. My own experience belied those choices.
During my search, God continued to drop divine guideposts on my path to point me to Him. One of those guideposts was Mary Ashby. As we talked on the phone about arrangements for my move to Texas, she shared brief nuggets of treasure about her faith. I found myself looking forward to our conversations.
Another guidepost was my grandfather, Rupert Kincer. He was a strong-willed man with a powerful faith in Jesus. He knew the Bible inside and out, and fearlessly shared Christ with whoever would listen. Not only did his personal relationship with God impact me, but he had given me some books years before that I had never read. One of them, in particular, would have an impact on my decision.
At first I didn’t think Christianity was unique among religions, but as I examined it more closely I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong. Every other belief system I studied was based on laws, rules or levels of consciousness. Attainment of rewards ultimately depended on the believer’s discipline or adherence to a standard. In most of them, the believer could call on divine help to achieve the goal, and all of them had the potential to grant their followers a level of purpose and contentment.
As I continued my search, something kept pulling me back to the faith of my childhood. When I began my close study of the core tenets of Christianity, it all made sense. First, it recognizes that we are all imperfect, and as long as we are in this tent of flesh we will always be imperfect. In looking at myself, people I knew and the world around me, that was an obvious truth. The Christian faith also recognizes that we cannot attain holiness and righteousness in our own power. Reaping the rewards of the faith does not depend on our abilities. It depends on how much of ourselves we surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Our salvation comes through the works of another who was worthy.
Christianity’s accurate assessment of the human condition pulled me strongly in its direction. But I still had a problem accepting the resurrection. For some reason, I found that proposition hard to swallow. Little did I know that God would answer my concerns.
More searching to come.
God’s grace to you,
Steve Jennings, Executive Director