In last week’s post, I left off at a point where I had decided that I would spend my life chasing the American Dream for myself and my family. And that’s exactly what I did. Over time, it became easier to not think about missions. I turned my back on a career in environmental geophysics to enter the world of information technology–a career that not only allowed me to be home more often, but also seemed to come with the promise of more money. Additionally, I enjoyed working with computers and loved the high paced, intellectual environment you encounter in many of the places I worked. We had the 2.4 kids (we’re still not sure which one is the .4 ;)), a house, a couple cars, and pretty much whatever else we wanted within reason. Life was certainly good.
But while things on the surface seemed right, like the seed that fell among the thorns (Matt. 13:7), my spiritual life was slowly getting choked out. Sure, we continued to go to church at first, but over time I came up with excuse after excuse to slowly walk away from anything spiritual. It’s too far (in my defense, YOU try making to church on time with 2 children under 2 and a 30-40 minute drive), I’m too tired after working all week, I’m on call, I don’t like people (yeah, I have my moments), I have a new job working weekends and will be fine. This went on for about five years, until I found that I was in a place that was long in my past. Jen would try to get me to take a day off here or there to go to church (she had continued to take the kids without me), but I had become so choked out by the cares of the world I couldn’t even see just how far things had drifted.
But God was still faithful through all of that. There were times that I could sense His love so strongly that it was overwhelming. I would push, and He would not let go. Eventually, I left what had to that point been the best paying job I had for one that payed far less so I could free weekends up. While it was my intention to head straight back to church, the once or twice I had attempted to go back to church brought on more excuses. This time, it was that they weren’t preaching the Jesus I knew. I’m not sure that was truly the case, but I distinctly remember telling Jen that I would return to church when they quit painting Jesus as a meek and mild pansy and started preaching the rebel who did not hesitate to poke His finger in the face of the religious establishment or turn the temple tables over. It took just about a year to find me at the end of my rope. I had been living in a spiritual rebellion for long enough that I had to admit I was lost in a desert. I still distinctly remember sitting at my computer one Sunday morning crying out to God, asking that He help me find the right church for us that moment–and He did. Forty minutes later we found ourselves sitting in a small building on Rte. 125 in Rochester, awkwardly singing and listening to someone in the church passionately talking about koinonia (community) using a snow shoe as a prop (Lee Thompson–if you read this, take note!). As weird as it felt to be back in a church (the roof *didn’t* collapse and no lightning was involved–who knew?), it felt like we had finally come home. And that’s where we’ll leave off until next week.