Reflections on a Decade of Faith. (Guest Blog)

It’s been two weeks since my last post on this blog, and with my laptop somewhat working now in short bursts (still looking for a new one mind you) I may be able to start posting again. But God provides and my good friend Ian has stepped up and allowed me to provide some content for you wonderful in the form of this amazing piece on his faith. Hope you find it as helpful as i have, a link to his blog can be found Here hope you enjoy as much as i did and May God Bless you.

It’s rare that we get a chance to look back at all the things God has done for us throughout our walk with Him. It’s also rare that we get to sit down with other believers who can share their experiences – especially ones who have perhaps been walking their faith for a bit longer. I thought it could be really helpful and encouraging to have a question and answer session that facilitates just that. I asked my good friend Luke what questions he might have for someone who’s a bit older, he provided some great ones and I’ve tried to answer them as best I can!

1. What was your biggest struggle with the word (like something you might not of understood/agreed with) when you was new to your faith?

I’d imagine most people would answer something along the lines of why does God command that people be killed, or why does He ordain who is saved and who is not (Romans 9). My answer is a bit different I think. I was a scientist before I became a Christian, and did not stop being a scientist afterward. My main concern when I was young in my faith was, “Can the Bible be reconciled with Science and reason?” – therefore a lot of my study of the Bible when I first explored the faith was to discover if the Bible was logically sound, and if it said anything that really went against what Science has helped us to discover. Even from the start of my faith I knew that the authority of the Bible was of utmost importance; it must be correct on everything, or it can be trusted in nothing. Thus, my greatest struggle with the Word lay in Genesis and the story of Creation, and also in challenging my own conceptions of what I thought to be true.

When I was still a very young Christian, one of my best friends who had been a Christian all his life was discussing evolution with me. My knee-jerk reaction was “Of course evolution is true, don’t be stupid.” He challenged me to explore it for myself. And so I did; I started to read up on these things. One book I remember well was “God, the Big Bang and Bunsen Burning Issues”. It was a compilation of writings from 15 very respectable and also Christian scientists, discussing matters of faith and Science. The more things I read, the more I saw that the many thinkers who had gone before me in the faith had constructed very strong, logical arguments as to how Science does not conflict with Christianity, but rather compliments it. It certainly was complimentary in my own life. It forced me to critique what I had learned in the past. I mentioned my conviction on evolution.

Ask most people about it and they will tell you with certainty that evolution is true and you’re a fool if you think otherwise… and yet they know nothing about it. Now I accept it for what it is; evolution is a theory, it has some good evidence (such as left over traits like the tailbone and the appendix) and it is a good model for explaining reality as we see it, but macro-evolution also has some serious issues that have led me to be more skeptical of it. So, in the end, I was satisfied that the Word is indeed both logical and consistent with Science, with much credit given to the great minds who delved into these issues long before I did. I’ll briefly touch on why it was this, and not the aforementioned God and suffering that were an issue for me.

Two reasons. One, before I became a Christian I had serious doubts about the foundations of human morality – if I go into that here this answer will be even longer, but it’s to do with the implications of heat death theory (the end of the universe) if there is no eternal afterlife. Two, as a scientist I perhaps had a better appreciation than most on what infinity represented, and how small humans are in the grand scheme of things. Therefore my reasoning is that mere human morality is false, and that if God exists, and He is infinite, He alone can be the arbiter of what is right and wrong. It would be the utmost folly to question His actions. I accept all of His judgments in the Bible. Think what infinity is. In one nanosecond God can consider the entire universe, every outcome and spiraling cause and effect, and He can consider it infinitely. He is also infinitely just and will always make the best and fairest judgement.

He is also infinitely glorious and deserving of glory, thus all of His actions should rightly first and foremost glorify Himself (to do otherwise would “short-change” Creation that has been made to love God – it is most loving for God to make Himself as awesome as possible, that we can enjoy Him as fully as possible). My point is this; God is infinitely qualified and will always do what is best – He can’t be “wrong”, and therefore the whole exercise of questioning His judgments is the most foolish form of arrogance.

2. What are some of the moments that really empowered your faith and trust in God?

This will be a much less lengthy answer! First would be my baptism in the Spirit. This happened in my summer holiday after the first year of University was over. I was invited by a good friend (the same one I debated evolution with) to come along with his family to the Keswick Convention. It was a nice place but there was no stand-out part of it in terms of events and preaching. It was in my tent one night, praying to God that I felt His presence very deeply for the first time, and I can still remember weeping in joy and awe at that encounter. That night marked the time I would truly consider myself a Christian, and from that day I carried a new zeal for God. It brought together my mind, that recognized the logic and truth of Scripture, and my heart, that now knew and gloried in the love of God.

Second would be my time at the church of Father’s House; I only started going in my third year of University but was so impacted by it that I stayed in Lancaster for another three years. FH was fundamental in making my faith what it is today, for three reasons. One, the Pastor Clive Corfield was an incredibly inspirational man of God; he was a real man’s man and also one of the wisest and most godly people I have ever met. He was a model for my faith; to be a strong, proudly masculine man of God, and I hold that conviction to this day.

Two, the teaching. I have never known a church to give such a breadth of teaching like FH did; from Old Testament foreshadowing of Christ to “men only” discussion of relationships and sexuality, FH gave me invaluable well-rounded training in the faith. Three, the embrace of the Holy Spirit. It is my firm belief that those who follow a personal God should expect to experience Him directly. FH shared this view, and through their teaching and encouragement I found myself moving deeper and deeper in the gift of prophecy, and was given opportunities to exercise it and become more bold in sharing it.

Today I believe that this gift is the cornerstone of my ministry and calling in whatever area God may lead me into. Third and finally, my Discipleship Year where I got the opportunity to preach at a church called St. Barnabas in Istead Rise. I suppose this was a culmination of all I’d learned to that point. There’s not too much to say about it really except that it went down well and I loved doing it. It was awesome to have the honour of teaching God’s Word; having a substantial practical output of all the learning I had done up to then.

It was a real vantage point in my life; to look back at the doubting, angry, aloof 17 year old who came out of sixth form with bad grades and seeing the progress of somehow getting into University, finding faith, graduating well, doing a Masters and now being here, preaching to a church, and God saying “Look how far I have brought you.”

3. Has there ever been a time where you’ve really struggled with your trust in God? And how did you overcome that?

I’ve personally found that it is not in the times of great trial where I have struggled; in those times God has been closer because I am “driven” into His arms – where else would I go?! The times I have truly struggled have been during the mundane; the times when nothing is really happening, when you are just plodding through life. The first time I came to such a “dry” period was a real struggle.

It was during my Masters in Lancaster. I’d been through the excitement of finding God, I’d been through the amazing training and discoveries at Father’s House, I’d been through severe trials and now was finally a lull. It felt like nothing was really happening for months, even before starting the MSc. The MSc itself was intense, and I was also doing a part-time job through half of it. I struggled to make time for God or to engage in church, and often felt worn out. I constantly felt guilty, frustrated and distant from God. Throughout this time I could only come back to the fundamental truths; that God is real and that the blood of Jesus has covered my sins.

With these truths I could never reject God; where else would I go? And I never ran from God in shame of my sins; I knew He was always there to receive me. I felt that God was tempering my faith, giving me wisdom and patience. I accepted that He was leading me even in that dry place, and that He would lead me out of it. So it was a matter of plodding on, coming back to God whenever I strayed, swallowing my own frustrations and submitting to God’s plans – waiting for the next step.

And let it be said that God is faithful; without that struggle I would not have signed up to the Discipleship Year (after a year of struggle I felt excited to truly give a year to God), and perhaps I would not have gotten onto the PhD I am studying today. Now I can face those dry spells with the conviction that God will see me through it; I have proof from past experience.

It’s been great to be able to reflect on my walk with God and I hope that this has been an encouragement to others, especially those who are a bit younger in the faith and still have all of these experiences to come. God bless, and I hope to be answering more questions in the future!

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