My Story: A Trial that Proves a Faulty Faith (Part 2)

flickrcom-photos-flakstad-2681169006When I was 14 years old my life took a sudden and unexpected turn.  My family had moved from Montana to North Alabama.  My father now only worked one job being a full time pastor.  We were settled into the school system and began  enjoying life in the south.

Then I came home one day to find out that my dad had had a stroke and was in the hospital.  We visited him over the following weeks.  Many times I chose not to go because I didn’t want to see my father in such a helpless position.   He began the road to recovery only to be asked for his resignation a few months later.

At the time I blamed myself.  Around the same time he had taken me out arrowhead hunting one afternoon and he ended up being late to an important meeting.  I internalized what I perceived as the attack on my father as being my fault.

A Different Kind of Suffering

In the times past all the suffering that we had endured seemed impersonal.  My parents had seen two miscarriages.  We almost lost my mom and brother when he was born.  We were poor and trusted God to meet our needs. Yet, now I was faced with what appeared to be a very personal and direct attack on all that I understood to be right in the world.

There is no greater insult to a young man than to defame his father in front of him.  I chose to reject God and the church.  I hated God and rebelled against him in all that I knew to do. I did not know it, but my faith was being tested to prove I was not all that I thought I was (I Peter 1:6-7, II Corinthians 13:5).  I had been riding the coattails of my parents faith, but there comes a time when each person must trust Christ on their own (Ezekiel 18:21-32).

My Rebellion

I had a friend who would drink and so I asked to be included the next time he went out.  I began getting drunk on a regular basis.  I was mad at God for letting my dad get fired and I was mad at the church for being so full of hypocrites.

For a time we  would hang out in my parents back yard getting drunk in a cabin on the river.  We didn’t have a great way to dispose of the alcohol containers (I’m sure my dad would have noticed them in the trash can), so we cut a hole in the bottom of the cabin floor and stuffed all the empty containers in the hole.  Eventually there was no more room to hid the beer cans and vodka bottles.  My dad found out we were drinking and we had a “come to Jesus” meeting.

I hated disappointing my dad and knew a great way to get out of some of the trouble I was in was to “repent” of my sin.  I was genuinely sorry for what I had done, but mostly I was just ashamed that I had gotten caught  (I Corinthians 2:10). I set about to hide my shame by building a reputation of good works.

At age 18 I became a student minister.  I thought that if I was just good enough, God would be pleased with me.   I was wrong (Ephesians 2:8-9). I thought I could earn God’s favor, but its a gift that has to be given.

It would be years before I would really discover what a relationship with God was really all about.

Want to know more about the Christian message and how to become a Christ follower?  Click the link below.  Be sure to follow it to the end that is where the truly good news is shared.

Way of  the Master

2 thoughts on “My Story: A Trial that Proves a Faulty Faith (Part 2)

  1. chip weaver

    Hey Jonathan,
    I remember this happening to your family and it still bothers me! I still to this day will not step into that church, if you want to call it that! My family had been members of that church for a long time, but were not in any high positions! It was a shock to us and embarresed me to even know these people! I felt like I lost two of my best friends and my pastor! It had alot to do with me straying away also, because for along time I didn’t even search for a new church! I have always from time to time thought about you and your sister over the years and was excited to see you on Facebook! I am so glad you turned your life back around and found your way! Im proud of you man and congrats on the wife and the wonderful family! Chip


  2. pastorjonathan1

    Hey Chip! It’s great to hear from you! You know God really used this situation to change the entire course of my life. I look at it now like Joseph looking back, understood being thrown in the pit… “You (his brothers) meant it for evil, but God meant it for Good” – Genesis 50:20.

    This life event has shaped my character more than any other. THere are at least 3 reasons I look back and thank God for this tragedy in my life.

    1. It opened my eyes to my real spiritual condition. I was just following the path of least resistance. When things didn’t go my way. I was ready to throw in the towel on following my parents faith. And thats exactly it… I never had owned my faith.

    2. It opened my eyes to understand that broken people hurt broken people. It is the world in which we all live. We are all broken by sin and need forgiveness and reconcilliation in Jesus Christ. I’ve devoted my life to reaching those who are away from God.

    3. It taught me about forgiveness. When I was a young man in college I had the chance to return to that church. By God’s kindness they were hosting an opportunity for individuals to share with the congregation. I went forward, grabbed the micraphone and shared the hurt I had, forgave them and blessed their pastor. (i’ll share more on this later in a blog post).

    I truly have forgiven them and am looking for God to do great things in that community through them and others. After all, God in Christ forgave me for all that I have done against him, why should I not forgive them for what they have done to me.


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