As I child church was a huge part of our lives. I have memories of being very small laying on the floor under the pews while the pastor preached.
My aunt started the church we went to in the basement of her house. We sat on some wooden seats that came from an old auditorium of some sort and fanned ourselves in the heat with cardboard fans from a funeral home.
I remember that church moving from her basement to a brand new building that seemed huge to me. It was the First Assembly of God in O’Fallon, Missouri. If I go into that old part of the church now it seems so small. I was there when it got enlarged even though I was still too young to be any help. I did get to help the next time the building was expanded and a new auditorium was built.
We were there a lot. Services were on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. We had revivals where we would have services every night for weeks sometimes. I was taught the bible and the rules of being a Christian. I was taught to seek blessings from God. I was taught this was a very emotional experience and I felt like that was how it had to be. I may have been taught other things but this is what I took with me as I grew older.
I remember a lot of things about church, about me and my friends and my life and the time I spent there. I remember seeking a lot of things from God, trying to reach some pinnacle of spiritual excellence.
I don’t seem to remember him. I mostly remember trying to make God do things for me.
I struggled with my relationship with God through high school and after many ups and downs decided to attend bible college, which I did for two years. My classes however were pretty far down on my priority list but I did learn some things and I thought I knew enough to be a pretty impressive Christian.
In college, even in a Christian college taking bible classes, I had a tough time remembering God.
Well, after dropping out of school that knowledge didn’t do a whole lot for me and I fell away. I made a few comebacks over the years but I never stuck. My lows kept getting lower and my life kept getting more screwed up.
So, I decided that what I knew was not good enough. What I had been taught was not good enough. I was missing something and I had to fix it or my next low was very likely to be my last.
I had completely forgotten him.
Now, this may seem stupid to a lot of you but I had heard for years and years to pray and read my bible. to listen for what God wants me to do and do what He says. But I never did those things. I bowed my head at church, I prayed for things and help to get out of trouble but I never prayed for things that will last, for help to please God whatever He asks. I read the bible from time to time, a little bit, but I never dug into it to see what it means to me and my survival, to see what steps I should take next or how to be useful to others.
Those things I knew God wanted me to do were easy to not do because I never really listened to Him. He seldom parts the clouds and lets a booming voice call down from Heaven with advice. He speaks to me through His word. That has saved my life. That is where the words I write come from. Without these things my stories are just stories. With them they make me a better person even if no one else ever reads them. So each morning, before anything else, I remember Him.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” 2 Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky. 3 Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly. 4 Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.
5 Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral. 6 Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. 7 For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.