Thursday, September 1, 2011

Begging for Spiritual Bread (Part 2)

As the water rushed in around my head, the anticipation was replaced by confusion. There were no God-like voices under this water, just green murk and muddled gravity. God had promised he would meet me here, so where was he? All too soon I felt my body being lifted back up. I wanted to struggle, I needed to stay here! Stop! Wait! Too soon!

And then I was standing up, breathing air again. I heard applause from the shore as I blindly followed my Father out of the water. My skirt weighed me down and my bare feet sunk deep into the mud. I looked up at the sky, as bleak as ever, and saw no rainbow, not even a ray of sunshine that I could call my own. Reality came sweeping back in. I was a fool, and I had done it wrong again. Behind me someone else was being baptized. My moment was over. Deeply ashamed, I trudged back to the van to get myself a towel. I imagined God was looking down at me, shaking his head and giving me the silent treatment. My dripping hair disguised my tears. How could I have been so wrong? Had I imagined the “leading” I felt? Had I fabricated to joy it gave me to believe? Or had I never truly believed at all?

My mother was sitting in the van nursing the baby. Dad didn’t want her doing that in public, even with a blanket. “Sorry I didn’t see it honey” she said to me. “Hurry up and change, that wet shirt is clinging to your chest” I shuffled up to the house with my towel pressed to my chest. I had never been so thoroughly ashamed.

Over time, I came to have faith in my own inadequacy. I was not good enough for God, but that was okay. He is god! Who was I to question his methods? So I continued to obey him. I shared the gospel whenever I had a chance, and prayed fervently for others, especially my married older sister. I idolized my older sister. She had done everything God’s way and he had blessed her with a Godly husband. At 19, she was newly married with a baby on the way. She was a living testament to how God blesses those who please him. I prayed every day for her and for the baby in her womb. I felt that I knew the baby already, I wondered who’s eyes she would have, and longed for the day I would meet her and hold her tiny hand. When the news came that my sister had miscarried, I took it hard. Very hard. For the first time in my life, I was openly angry with God. My sister and her husband had done EVERYTHING right. Why would He do this to them?

Why was I taught that God rewards obedience with blessing? Why do Christians use phrases like ‘the power of prayer” when prayer itself clearly does nothing but comfort the one praying? Why is blind faith so encouraged when it almost always leads to bitter disappointment and confusion? I was raised in home “full of the holy spirit:” My dad talked about his encounters with the Lord all the time. I truly believed that one day, God would leave writing on the wall for me, or send me a miracle. Stuff like that always happened to real Christians, right? For everyday of silence, my heart sank another inch. I spent the first 18 years of my life begging for spiritual bread and getting nothing but disappointment. I have stopped asking God for things. When I pray, I ask him to have patience with me, and show what he’s really like.

I am no longer angry with God. Either he is nothing like I was taught, or he doesn’t exist.


  1. I feel deeply for you. I have a hard time asking God for things these days. I try to only ask for intangible things, like you mentioned. And be thankful for the tangible things I do have. I often think of the Lord's prayer, and how few things it really asks for; Forgiveness, daily bread, guidance, and deliverance from evil. Those are reasonable expectations from us children to our Heavenly Father. It's a revealing and sometimes reassuring thought for me.
    I have often thought about being rebaptized. My baptism was not at all what I expected and has never set right with me. I talked to my pastor briefly when I joined the community church I attend, and he felt that it was the state of my heart that mattered, not the state of the baptizer's heart or the method. But I don't know. When I got saved, I assumed I would be baptized by immersion. I was extremely shocked when June simply laid a towel on my parents' floor and poured a pitcher of water over me. All the adults acted as though this was what I should have expected all along, and I tried to comfort myself with the thought that at least no one was staring at me, the drawback to public baptism for which I had rigidly steeled myself in advance. I hated the spotlight.
    Still, I never came to terms with it, and after finding how far away from truth June's doctrine had strayed, I have become increasingly uneasy. I want to be rebaptized, by immersion and by someone whose walk with God seems true to me.

  2. "I am no longer angry with God. Either he is nothing like I was taught, or he doesn’t exist."

    Amen. So true.

  3. I wear glasses. When I was a young teenager I would pray fervently, asking God to correct my vision. I prayed...and prayed......and prayed.....and........prayed. Earnestly. Obviously my eye sight was never "healed", because miracles like that don't actually happen. There is no force from heaven who reaches down and fixes stuff in our world. We are what we are....and we are all we have.

    At the time I was ashamed that I didn't have enough faith. I thought that if I had enough faith then God would be able to heal my eye sight. It was my lack of faith. If you have faith like a mustard seen...then you can move mountains after all!

  4. @Anonymous - I can so relate to that. For years my mother suffered terribly during pregnancy with varicose veins. Her mentor told her she just had to have faith. And told my dad he should fast and pray. For over ten years my dad ate no sweets or desserts. His level of commitment amazes me now as an adult. I remember what a big deal it was when my mom finally told June enough was enough and my dad ate chocolate cake with us.
    And there was my sister's crooked eye, which June insisted she could correct if she just wanted to, so she didn't see an optometrist until her teens, and the vision was long past the point of restoration. We didn't get our wisdom teeth pulled because she said God wouldn't have created them if we didn't need them. Instead, a few of us suffered through years of unsuccessful retainers and braces at great cost to my parents. We still have crooked teeth. When my son was born with the same eye problem my sister had, only worse, it was my fault for allowing TV in my house, and if I would throw it out, He would miraculously heal Andy. I took him to a doctor.
    The list could go on..... Basically, I realized at some point that we are all given our own crosses to bear, and the Prosperity Doctrine is entirely unChristian.

  5. @Pippi, Wow i can totally understand why you would want to be re-baptized. that's just crazy.. and about the verricose veins thing, my mom was always debilitated for months during and after every pregnancy. I spent hours rubbing her back or puting hot cloths over her kidneys becuase that was the only "natural" way to help her. I wonder if things would have been different had we been alowed to go to the doctor instead of trusting God for everything..