In the Fall of 1989 I entered college as a freshman at Texas A&M University. I considered myself a fairly capable person up to that point but figured out pretty quickly that college was much bigger and harder than I expected. This was the first time I found myself literally failing at something despite my best efforts. I couldn't 'just make it work' like I wanted to. Being stumped so badly at something I really wanted was new. My life was headed downhill.
During Easter weekend of my second semester I was alone at school and pretty down. It was a rainy weekend, my roommate and most other students had gone home so campus was empty. My grades were failing despite lots of studying and I was torn over a girl who had gone back to someone else. I hit rock bottom. I thought to myself, 'I'm trying my best, but nothing is working. I'm not cutting it and everyone else seems to be doing fine.'
I grew up going to church but stopped going just as soon as I could. Sure I knew all the stories ' but I thought, 'How do we know any of that stuff is even real?' 'How do I know God even exists or is 'out there'?... maybe, maybe not. Either way it doesn't matter.' 'That spiritual stuff is a crutch.' I didn't realize it at the time but I was floating. Drifting from one set of friends to another and from one adrenaline rush and bad decision to another. My life was like a big jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces floating and not connecting.
Because I had heard all the stories in church as a kid, I knew enough about God to know that, if he was really there He cared about me. That was good but I was living my life on my own and I preferred it that way. There was a clear separation between me and God ' it was me against the world up to that point.
That weekend I hit rock bottom I was at the end of my rope and convinced I couldn't 'do life' the way I needed to. I just wasn't able. In my dorm room by myself, I said, 'God, I need your help. I can't do this on my own anymore. I need you to pick up the pieces of my life and help me.'
Life didn't turn around instantly. In fact, that night there was no thunder or fireworks. I just went to sleep. That semester I barely pulled my grades up to passing and my study skills slowly got better.
There was something else missing though. Church ' hmm, if this whole God thing is real, I should try going back to church. After quickly growing tired of the same old hum-drum experience I had as a kid, I visited a few other churches and landed on one I had never heard of before. The pastor wore a coat and tie and just taught straight out of the bible. It was the first time I had ever seen that. And he talked about deep things like eternity, and life and death. I was riveted in my seat, week after week. This was totally new for me and very engaging.
Slowly, my purpose and direction in life began to crystallize. I was soaking so much up and growing in leaps and bounds by sitting and listening in this new ' surprisingly interesting ' church experience.
This began a long season of learning more and more about those stories I heard as a kid but never quite personalized. Stories about Jesus and the cross and what to do about the ugly things in my life I was not proud of. I learned that the bible was a rather remarkable document and that there were, in fact, good reasons for taking this God stuff seriously.
The more I learned, the more I was thankful I had help in this life ' that I was not alone and that God really was 'there'. And more than just 'there' but also interested in me personally. I learned that things happen for a reason. That God is purposeful and, although we don't necessarily know why things happen, God does know why and is ultimately in control. Yes, bad things happen to good people sometimes, but God has purpose even in that. My life was far from perfect but I was no longer floating. I was no longer drifting. God had a plan for my life and I had just begun the adventure to seek it out.
Soon after I went to a retreat and studied Romans chapter 8. It was life changing. I continued to study more and came to understand Jesus as more than a floaty, fluffy character in an old book. Rather, I saw Him as the smartest, most powerful, clever, strategic, humble, and giving person I had ever experienced. I gave my life over entirely to Him and, to this day, want to increasingly follow the examples and live out the instructions Jesus gave us.
Since then I have grown a lot in my relationship with God. It is a very important area of life to cultivate ' arguably the most important thing you can do. Have you considered these issues about God? Do you have a right relationship with the Maker of the universe?
So, yes, I am confident I have a right relationship with God but that hardly means I have it all figured out. There are so many questions I have about spiritual things. For example, when Noah saw the flood, how far did the water really go? To Nebraska? Who exactly were those Nephilim guys? After Jesus rose he walked through a wall, but also ate fish ' how'd he do that? Will we be able to do that too?
I hope you'll consider and wrestle with spiritual issues and your relationship to God. I also hope you'll consider what the God of the Christian bible says and actually read what Jesus said. Not just listen to what other people say about Jesus. He is a unique figure in history, and for good reasons. You cannot read what he said and take him lightly.
I'd be glad to dialogue with you about spiritual issues. Feel free to drop me a note on the 'Leave a message' link.
Friends describe me
A learner, a techno geek, driven, inquisitive, someone who asks good questions
Mountain biking, keeping up with world news, writing software, reading wikipedia, making a home-made Segway
Fantasy dinner guests
Martin Luther, Charles Darwin, Abraham, William Carey
Best advice I ever received
'Son, it's so important to treat people with love and respect.'
My worst subject in school
History - never could remember the dates
If I weren't a professor, I would
race motocross ; be a missionary ; pursue medical research
Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, The Language of God by Francis Collins
Bourne Identity series; Gladiator; Dead Poets Society; Saving Private Ryan
Cafe Americano; Columbian
Nobody knows I
barely graduated high school. Really. By 2 points on my English final.
My latest accomplishment
Integrating nonlinear control theory, differential equations, and Jesus into one document.
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