Today’s devotion is by Andre Robitaille, who has only been at Summerfield a very short time. If you were with us the day we had to go to the basement for the tornado warning, you may remember him being there with his young son.
In recent years I struggled to overcome various doubts that were holding me back from believing in Christianity. Like many atheists and agnostics, I saw Jesus colored by the Christians I met – sometimes by the good I could see in them, but often I saw them, and God, by their struggles. I thought, “what good is Christ doing in these people and in the world?” That, to me, is sometimes difficult to see in our consumerism, our arguments about politics, our wars over moral issues, and so on.
For the past couple years I’ve gone on a mission trip, both times as a non-believer, to a poor country to help install underground pipe for rural community water systems. The organization I work with aims to help children who are dying from diarrhea by bringing clean water and septic systems to people who are drinking water out of a two-foot hole that they dug in the road.
On this year’s trip, I spent the hour-long bus ride each way contemplating what was holding me back from believing in Jesus. I realized that the last thing remaining was what I described above. It wasn’t historicity, or truth of the Bible, or anything similar, but instead, were Christians really changed? Did their faith lead them to a changed life? Would Jesus lead me to a changed life?
I found that change in a few people that I’ve met over the years, but this year I spent a good amount of time talking with Brian, one of the missionaries. I watched him with his unshakable good mood. I heard about his extraordinary patience and relaxed persistence in his brother’s eventual conversion. I saw Brian and his wife (and unborn child) commit to missionary service despite others’ objections. But what affected me most was his patience and faith in God that I would find my way – which though I’ve seen in others, it was his joy in that faith that took me by surprise. It was his visible happiness and excitement that God was working in me… You could literally see it on his face. Brian was my “guiding star” that showed me what I needed.
If you have someone you would like to hold up as a guiding star in your faith journey, please e-mail me your reflection. There is still time to be included!