Through the many turmoils and valleys of my near 50 years, always caused by my wanderings and occasionally by others who took advantage of my generous nature, there absolutely have been times where I wanted to just walk away. To quit, the circumstances, the individuals, and many times the organizations, which I did either directly or by behaving in ways that got me that result. For many years of worldly success as some would measure it, I was still wandering away from who I was at the core of my being, and who, I believe, God created me to be.
When I left financial services in 2008, and returned to college for 2 1/2 years to complete the BA and then the Master's degree, many who knew me thought I was reinventing myself. I wasn't. I was getting some of the world's certifications to validate the teacher and leader within that pushes others to expand their vision and achieve more than they thought possible. At my age, one doesn't take jobs cleaning toilets in a hotel, as a cashier in a supermarket change, and a half dozen other minimum wage positions without the faith that God has a plan for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.
When Pastor Spitters asked me late last year to give a testimony this past January in all three services at First Church I didn't hesitate. Though the writing and rewriting and editing and prayer took a month to complete, and the talk at each service was slightly different, that specific scripture was key. Many of us would quote the first half, but want to avoid the last part. You see, it isn't my purposes, or my wife's, children's, friends, co-worker's, bosses or anyone else's purpose that was important. It's His purposes that works all things together for the good for those who love Him.
Faith allows us to see things which at the moment don't exist. Faith gives us a vision of who we may become that we are not today. Faith provides the comfort and strength to face all obstacles and see them as opportunities to become more. More than we have been, more than we are, and more than we can imagine.
Because faith isn't a dream, it's a fact. Faith exists and is available to those who ask, those who seek, and those who are willing to stand up and make a gift of themselves to the rest of the world. However small their world may be.
Faith is not a dividing force that causes us to condemn, hurt and destroy those who believe differently than we do. That's an aberration. I highly doubt that the Crusades changed many hearts and minds according to His purposes.
I don't live in a belief system that calls me to kill individuals who don't think like I do. I live in a faith that calls me to serve them. To help them in whatever way my time, talent and treasure are able to. A faith that says self-sacrifice and servant leadership are the highest callings of human existence.
And that's a faith I can believe in.