Returning from the Fringe series: Lesson 2
After graduation, I was planning to do my master’s in political philosophy and then a Ph.D. But my mother passed away three weeks before graduation and I had to come home. With mother now gone, the focal point of the family was also gone and my already dysfunctional family disintegrated even further. I kept in touch with two of my brothers who were married, brothers No 2 and No 4. Brother No 4 was closest to me and I stayed mostly with him and his family.
My brothers, I believe, knew that I was unstable at that time and laid no expectations on me. I had a roof over my head, food to eat and a part-time job that paid quite well. My basic needs were taken care of, and that left me free to focus on reordering my mind! I didn’t plan it this way; it just happened as it did!
One of those days, I thought to myself: “Since my background is Christian, why don’t I start reading the Bible again — just to find out who this Jesus Christ is!” Previously I believed without questioning. This time, I wanted to really know.
But, I read without faith and was often incredulous at the seemingly archaic accounts. I would rationalize all the truths away! If I couldn’t, I would look upwards, point to the text and say to an invisible God I didn’t know: “God, what is this? We are in the 21st century!” And, I would skip that section!
Well, I am a product of an American education! I was taught to use my head and was as good as any American in rationalizing away Biblical truths! Even in conversations with friends, I was intellectualizing — not bonding. I must have put them off! But, they put up with me!
I remember one occasion clearly. In the company of a few women friends who were talking about nail varnish and quick-fix facials using common foods, I was about to launch a tirade on the phoniness of the cosmetic industry when something inside me gave a warning word: “Don’t!” I was startled, but I stopped. I didn’t say anything to my friends. Instead, I joined them and gave my two cents worth on nice colours for nails and how to use egg white as a tightening mask!
I didn’t know then what I know now. I needed friends and intellectualising would have only estranged me from them. That voice I heard stopped me from taking a path that would have led me further downward.
I kept on reading the Bible, still with unbelief. Then, I noticed an emerging thought pattern. There was this very subtle but clear prompting that I heard in the silence of my mind every time I dismissed Scripture with unbelief: “Just believe!”
So, I chose to believe. I did one more thing: I started pouring out my heart to God, being utterly and shamelessly honest about my feelings. Then, I would read Scripture and eventually I started praying again. Soon I realised that every time I believed, the mental stress would lessen. When I could not believe, I would now pray, “Lord, I don’t understand, but one day give me understanding.” Over time, all the doubts were resolved! I began to gain a clear grasp of Scripture and unbelief changed to belief!
By that time, I found myself identifying the inner prompting with the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have no idea how I made that connection. It evolved spontaneously. But, that was how my healing began! I read His Word, and simply believed as I heard Him speak through His Word.
I still struggled but it got easier and easier with every passing day, week, month and year!
NEXT FRIDAY: Bonds that save!