I would not want to mislead any of you, my readers. I know that, often in my writing, there is a triumphant tone, and indeed there have been many triumphs in my life that I thank God for and know that I owe to Him and to His power. But I write what I feel led to write by the Holy Spirit, so there are times in which I do not feel in my heart the great optimism that is in my writing. Like any normal person, I have my struggles and days of deep doubt as God has put me through various trials to purify my faith. It seems like so many more of these dark days have occurred lately, although certainly not as dark as the first days after I returned from Iraq. Nonetheless, I would ask for your prayers, just as I pray for you. I have told bits and pieces of my story along the way as I have posted my daily blogs. But I thought perhaps this would be a good time to tell a little more of my own story.
I grew up in a Baptist preacher’s home, so I heard the good news of Jesus very early. I was subsequently saved when I was about 8 years old. I still remember the way I felt that Sunday. As I sat in the pew, and the altar call was given, I felt a tremendous struggle within my soul about whether to respond and walk down that aisle to proclaim that I had asked Jesus into my heart. I imagine the struggle was a spiritual one as Satan tried to talk me out of it. And I remember, as I thought about my sin, I sensed a tremendous weight upon my shoulders, the weight of my sin. When I finally forced myself to stand and walk out into the aisle, yielding to the call of Jesus, that great weight seemed to roll off of my shoulders, and I felt free as I had never felt before. I also I felt a feeling of purity rushing through me, which had to be the Holy Spirit; I’ve felt that feeling many times since, especially when I was in witnessing situations. Those first days after my salvation and my subsequent baptism, I truly felt the Holy Spirit strongly within my heart and soul. I felt compelled to witness to my friends on the playground during recess, telling them about Jesus and their need for salvation. I felt like I had received a tremendous gift and couldn’t wait to tell others about it.
These feelings didn’t last, though. As I grew into my teen years, I went through some times of great struggle.
More on this tomorrow.