God’s Faithfullness in our Relationship

January 8, 2010

I became a Christian when I was in the 8th Grade. I pursued my relationship with the Lord throughout Jr High and High School. Surrounded by great friends and inspired discipleship (Thank you Nels Edwin Berg, III, Mike Medill, Kevin Stevens and many more) I made it through adolescence pretty much intact. I have never met anyone who had a better experience in High School than me. I would not change a thing, I mean literally not one thing. It was awesome and I love the person I grew into. I married a wonderful woman who was raised Unitarian and like a fool, I just let everything become, well, ok. I pretty much turned my back on God so that my beliefs would not cause friction in the marriage. Looking back, that decision was such a horrible one to make for everyone involved.

Let us skip 23 years into the future. Wow, did that last sentence fill me with a sense of loss…..23 years.

I have described myself (accurately) as a bookmark between my father and my oldest son. Collectively, these are my two best friends. How cool is that to be able to say. They are both instruments the Lord has used to bring me back into his amazing presence. Actually, that statement is misleading. It is not like God abandoned me. And that is the point of this story….

God finally just said “enough! You know better Craig” Both Jas and Dad had been gently prodding me for quite a while, I was kind of paying the Lord lip service. You see, I knew all the right things to say. Then Jason sent me a number of books to read. I highly recommend all three.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
The Shack by William P Young

Other than the bible, no book has changed my life like The Shack. It is a total work of fiction and it is not doctrine. What it showed me, exploded in me is a better description, is what my relationship with the Lord could, and should look like. I cried so many times reading that book. I would be sitting on the deck reading and I would get so emotional I would have to put the book down and almost run from it. Sometimes it would be 3 or 4 hours before I could pick the book back up again. What God kept yelling at me over and over again is “I am RIGHT HERE Craig” His faithfulness to me is so completely overwhelming.

So everything was alright now, right? God spoke to me…loudly… I have got my stuff together now.

Have I mentioned how human I am?

So I kept telling God “I get it now” and then “Oh, now I understand” and the funny thing was, he did not believe me. Time and time and time again we kept coming back to the same issues. It was like groundhog day. I would say “yes God, I know, you are faithful…I get it. So then he would start all over. Everything, and I mean everything that came up was a recurring theme. In church, we started a series called Shepherds and Kings that was based on the story of David. But not David as a king, David as a young man. We were in 1st Samuel, and the message to Craig was Davids friend Jonathan, the son of King Saul. With everything to lose and nothing to gain, Jonathan was completely faithful to David, against his father and knowing that if David survived he was forfeiting his own claim to the throne. What an amazing story…of faithfulness! Week after week, I would tell God “ok, I got it”. Well we finally ended the lesson to my great relief, and the next week I traveled to Chattanooga to finally see my Son and his family including my new grandson. We went to church together on Sunday and guess what they were in? 1st Samuel. I could not believe it. Then Jason told me there was this amazing tv show I needed to watch called “Kings”.  It had only run 12 episodes on NBC and had already been canceled but it was available online.  So I said sure and he sent me the link.  It was a story set in modern times based on ……1st Samuel.  There was time after time God led me back to this lesson. What he was saying was “I am and have always been faithful to you Craig”.  I know there is nothing I have ever done or could do to earn that faithfulness. In fact, I turned my back on it, purposefully, for years. And yet there it is. It is weird how hard my heart had become towards God. I was always a good person, I was happy, I love people. Yet, as I started to seek God again, it was so hard. So very hard. I would start to pray and my mind would wander. I mean all the time. I resisted this relationship for so long, it is like I was programmed to fail.

So now we actually get to the point of this rambling blog. Community! Actually, I need to capitalize that COMMUNITY and FELLOWSHIP. For me, church (the people, not the building) is critical. I have really just begun to become connected to my church home. I also have the amazing benefit of my father and my son. Nothing comes easy, nothing worth having anyway. I fight against my will, I fight against my nature and I fight against the devils most powerful tool (the NFL RedZone Channel) to pursue with fervor my relationship with God. How amazing is it that the God who created the universe actually cherishes our relationship….and pursues me?

It is a great day to be Craig.

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2 Responses to “God’s Faithfullness in our Relationship”

  1. Elaine Bultemeier Says:

    Your blog is awesome. So glad you are sharing your soul, your in-your-heart feelings with your friends online. I have never forgotten a tiny saying “If you feel farther away from God today than yesterday, who moved?” I have had a very close, personal relationship with God from time of being a little kid. Yet, when I “mess up”, I feel like I run into the garden and hide from Him. Rationally, I cannot imagine why I do things that I know are wrong when I know the difference. It is not that I go out and rob banks or commit serious felonies according to the law…….but isn’t it just as wrong to not take time to be with someone you know is lonely, or give to a worthy cause to help those less fortunate, or turn my back on someone who needs to talk, or judge someone who is different? I think by feeling the closeness to God, I tend to want to make Him “just like me”. I picture Him as being real, I give him human attributes, I expect Him to react like my mortal friends, which is not God’s way. The priest who baptized me had to constantly remind me to stop telling God how to do His job. I had to struggle with my family never understanding: my Mom was a bitter X-Catholic; my Dad a confirmed Atheist; my Brother an Agnostic. I wanted to be Catholic from time I was 6 years old and attended Mass with an Aunt. It took until December 21, 1996 to become Catholic. I have brought “fallen away” Catholics back to church, I have converted friends who sought me out without me preaching to them, and I have the honor of being GodMom to 5 Catholics plus a tiny baby who was still born. My Mom and Dad have passed away now, and my faith is the one subject off-limits when my brother and I are together. It is a blessing to have friends to share stories of faith with. Elaine

  2. Lynn Sanford Sims Says:

    I’ve enjoyed learning more about you through your FB posts and your testimony Craig. Hearing how the Lord has worked in your life to draw you into a relationship with Himself.

    That’s the coolest — He loves us and we can trust Him!

    2 Tim 2:13 “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

    Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

    Romans 3:3 “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?”

    The Lord has had to take a jackhammer to my heart, and I’m sure He’s not finished… hopefully I’ve learned to run to Him first instead of learning the hard way.

    Looking forward to more,
    Lynn


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