(but “discovered” it again after 15 years, only this time it’s different)
It was the mid 90’s. We went to church every Sunday like good normal Christians would do. Afterwards, when I got home I was convinced I’ll go to hell.
I was part of a christian community where all hell and condemnation was preached in my church.
On the other hand, I was told to believe I’m saved and to trust I’ll go to heaven. A dichotomy.
Will I ever be “good enough” for God? Will I ever “get it right” to live according to Gods’ will?
It became a vicious cycle. One moment I was to believe that I’ll go to heaven just to hear on Sunday how sinners will go to hell.
The people in my circles only believed in that which could be seen. Although they did believe in the tri-une God, which could not be seen. All other “spiritual” things was the devil who wanted to lead you astray.
It dawned on me that fear was a driving force behind the doctrine. How could I both fear and love God? How could God be loving and wrathful? How could it be that for one moment my sins are forgiven forever and the next moment I’ll get the wrath of God when I make a mistake?
Since a child I had a “sense” of something that couldn’t be seen. Something pulled me … something whispered … “there’s more” … this isn’t the complete truth but only a part of what people understand and interpret.
The very principles preached in the church was not practiced by its members. The church was “dead.” Sometimes I felt I want to rejoice and praise the Lord from the top of the hills, whilst a very strict order was kept in the church. Deep in me I felt something was “wrong”. David danced while he was praising the Lord! Why wasn’t this “principle” recognized by the church?
I do understand that a complete emotional faith can be misleading and used for manipulative goals. This is not what I’m referring to.
I experienced judgement, critics, hypocrisy to name a few. All principles that Jesus warned us against. Was I missing something?
Yet, the main reason I left, was because I felt alone in the church due to this pull that there’s “more”. But they say there isn’t … ’cause science can’t prove it.
Since childhood I had an understanding that we should care for Gods’ creation. Although the community around me, believed we can pretty much do as we please with it. Gods creation was a “commodity” and available at a price. It felt very wrong! but I didn’t have another explanation or solution.
It was after I had a mysterious experience , I felt the urge to search for answers and said “I want to know the truth and nothing but the truth”.
I had 3 experiences on the day. The one with the tree, then, a few minutes later I ended up between a mother warthog and her babies and the most mysterious one, when a voice told me to sit in the footpath, after I’ve seen a “white” cloud for a moment. I was still in awe of my earlier experiences talking to God … trying to figure out what happened with the tree and why the warthog didn’t attack me.
At first I didn’t want to sit. It was hot and I was on my last few drops of water. I just wanted to get home. I’ve been in the bush for approx 2.5 hours in extreme heat. The next moment it felt as if my legs gave way…. something pushed me down. So I said “Ok, I’ll sit”.
A herd of impala rushed across the path about 20m in front of me. The bull stopped to look back, but in the opposite direction. It wasn’t me that startled them. Then a lone duiker crossed.
As I wanted to get up, the voice said “Keep still, I’ll tell you when you can walk”. Ok… I’ll keep sitting.
After a while I got a “signal”, an “Ok you can walk” voice. More puzzled about what happened, I walked to the car and drove home. It was an awesome day! I felt peaceful and joyful. Not for one moment during my walk did I experience fear. I felt love towards God, his creation and all the people I met that day. It was a never ending stream flowing through me.
The Christian community I was in, didn’t believe in “funny” stuff. You were either schizophrenic or had an over active imagination. I had to be careful what I say to whom. I did tell a colleague about the strange incident I had with the antelope. (I didn’t tell him about the “funny” stuff).
He was surprised and told me a leopard attacked a horse the week before.
I felt God protected me. I felt there’s a deeper connection to God than what the church was telling us. I felt compelled to “find the truth and nothing but the truth”. I knew the church, as I knew it, wasn’t going to support me in my search. I had to search in alternative sources.
The “mysteries” with nature continued, as did the never ending stream of love I experienced whenever I started to praise God in nature.
Up to today I can’t help to praise God when I’m in nature. When I look at a plant, a tree or sit and watch the animals…. I am in awe of His mighty works. How each animal is “designed” for its own character and behavior. How elephants differ from a duiker. How the smallest seed carry the intelligence to become the most beautiful flower or even a tree. How does it know to do that?!? Who can create like our God can?
I’m not necessary interested in the scientific explanations, although I sometimes do research certain phenomena. To have “knowledge” isn’t the main drive.
To me nature is Gods’ glory manifested on earth … at its best. I am reminded that He is in control. I am reminded that He loves me more than I can ever love Him. I’m filled with humility, gratitude, joy and faith all at the same time.
We have an awesome God!
“For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever! Amen”
After 15 years searching in alternative sources, I “returned” to the Christian faith. Everything I have come to understand about nature is confirmed in the scriptures. Why isn’t it preached and taught in churches and Christian circles?
I found a rich, beautiful, pure “teaching” within Christianity. One very different than the one I grew up with. I suddenly understand who Jesus really is and what He had done to save us from the darkness, to live in Gods eternal dwelling forever.