Lost and Wandering – No More
It was an intense moment. Saying “yes” to Jesus seemed so appropriate after the pressures and stresses we had been through over the last few months as a family.
There I was, attending the second evening of an Alpha Course sponsored by some local churches in our community. Alpha, originating in Britain, is an 11 week course that investigates the basic beliefs of the Christian faith. The speaker, Nicky Gumbel, appearing on video, was addressing the question: “Why did Jesus die?”
At the end of his presentation, he invited people who had been touched by the presence of God, to ask Jesus Christ to become their Lord and Savior. So as he lead us in prayer, I prayed to invite Him into my life. Now the living LORD has taken up residence in my life and God is my Father.
I need proof first
I always believed in a “higher power” and to me, God seemed more like a distant uncle who lived far away and with whom one had little contact. The word “agnostic” would be a good characterization of my religious world view. In spiritual terms, my life was a hit & miss. Being a very factual person, I always needed proof before I would believe or commit myself to anything. This was true of many areas, especially when it came to the question of man’s origin. Which view is correct: evolution or creation? Where are the facts?
God, where are you?
In 1988 we experienced a big disappointment in our family regarding a major health issue. Then again, in 1992, a similar situation happened. These two issues left me feeling betrayed and abandoned by God. This contributed to my disillusionment about spiritual things and pulling back from my already fragmented faith.
Years passed. Then over the 2003 Christmas break, our daughter revealed how she had been living for the last year while attending fourth year university in a city about a three-hour drive from our home. What she revealed was a nightmare we thought only could happen to others. She admitted to using drugs for nearly a year combined with heavy drinking and frequent partying. We cried together.
When faced with this dilemma, the first thing that runs through your mind is, “How did this happen?” How could our intelligent, 24-year-old daughter, in the final stages of completing her college education, who came from a home and family background that always supported and loved her, make such bad choices? I struggled with these facts, finding that the only positive revelation was that Christina admitted to having a drug problem and was asking for help.
What’s the plan?
We discussed what would be the best course of action. Christina felt confident she could say “no” to situations that would lead her down the dark path once returning to college. We also thought, as she was admitting her problems, she was truly committed to getting back on track. She was after all, our daughter who was intelligent, logical and disciplined enough to pull this together. Little did we know.
Christina went back to university. We called her on a daily basis to ensure everything was well. All seemed to be going as planned, when two weeks later she called home and asked if her mother (Pat) would come for the weekend. When Pat arrived all seemed okiay. It wasn’t until she was ready to return home, Christina mentioned she had been using drugs again. She needed help. She could not do this on her own. We brought Christina home, pulling her out of college. Getting her life back on track was more important than anything.
How do I fix this?
So what do I do now? How do I fix this problem? Being an engineer by training I knew how to deal with problems. I’ve always been the kind of person that when something was broken or wasn’t right I’d fix it. Being the protective father, I was determined to grab this “bull by the horns” and solve this problem. However, the more I looked into drug and alcohol addiction, the more I realized how difficult this would be.
I called our local Community Services and met with the senior counselor that headed up the Drug/Addiction program. I wanted to talk to the person who had the most letters behind their name and the most experience. My purpose was to find out what programs were available, what worked and who was the best at making them work. He made it clear that the only one that was going to make any program work was Christina herself. Our family would be essentially bystanders, to offer support and encouragement along the way.
I Need Answers!
He suggested that I attend a family group meeting each week. At these meetings, hopefully, my many questions could be answered by others who had already been down this dark road. I was eager to hear their stories as to what had helped their son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter on the road to recovery. Sadly, what I encountered were tales of grief, despair and hopelessness. There seemed to be no answers or solutions there, only ways to cope with the situation so that you could get on with your own life. I would come home after these meetings so depressed thinking I could not attend another meeting.
Yet, my problem seemed small compared to what some of these families were going through. At least we had our daughter safe at home. Many of these people didn’t even know where their children where.
I remember after the forth meeting crying most of the way home. As I pulled into my driveway and turned off the ignition, I cried out to God for help. I was going through a lot of other stresses in my life, but nothing else mattered. When I asked God to “please give us our daughter back,” I realized how unimportant everything else in my life was. I would give everything I have to have our daughter back. I wept and prayed.
Answer to prayer
One week later God had given us back our daughter, but with one major difference – she was better than before. She had accepted Jesus Christ into her life.
The controversy over Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion had attracted her interest. She was especially impacted as we watched it together in the movie theater on March 3, 2004. The next day she went to a local Christian book store to find a Bible. There she was directed to a local church that we had started to attend and where we heard about the Alpha Course.
She had gone to www.thelife.com and been impacted by some of the powerful, life-changing stories on that website. There, in front of her computer, she had let Christ into her life. What a transformation.
A few weeks later Christina enrolled our family in the Alpha Course. The result: our entire family is now part of Gods family and have accepted Jesus Christ into our lives. God truly works in amazing ways!
Where I used to be in charge of my life, now everything I have is His. I give all my worries and stresses over into His hands. Now, when I ask for wisdom, I feel His incredible peace. It is also very exciting to see God at work in a variety of situations and wait for Him to work it out for us. But this idea of releasing it all to Him is also very new to me. Yes, I still struggle occasionally but now I pray and trust Him to guide me and I know He will lead me to become the man he wants me to be.
What about you? Are you feeling like life is out of control? Do you, like Lorne, desire to find somebody you can depend on? You can! Simply express your desire to God through prayer. God knows your heart so it doesn’t matter which words you use, but here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask You to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.
If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, pray it right now and Christ will come into your life just as He promised. If you invited Jesus Christ into your life thank God often that Christ is in your life, that He will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5) and that you have eternal life.