It is always a great joy to welcome Margaret Kemp as a guest blogger for Restore Ministries Monday Musings. In the crazy world in which we live it is easy to feel off balance if we are not standing firm on what we know to be true. Margaret shares her testimony here with such beautiful life-giving words. I'm so grateful for her heart, her faith, her friendship, and her willingness to serve Restore with her gifts.
Why does God allow injustice?
What about the Hindus and the Buddhists and the other religions?
What if I’ve got it all wrong? What if everything I believe is a lie?
I sometimes find it hard to stay anchored in the truth while living in a world that’s swirling with chaos, confusion, and turmoil. I want to remain steady in my faith, but different worldviews, philosophies, and opinions attempt to rock my boat. Doubts and questions seep into my consciousness and threaten to capsize my faith.
I don’t have all the answers to the tough questions.
But, like the blind man whose story is recorded in the gospel of John chapter 9, I can say this:
“One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25 ESV
I was born into a church-going family. As a child, I believed that good people go to heaven and bad people go…well, to the other place. So I tried not to fight with my siblings or disobey my parents. Invariably, I failed. My sister’s little finger is probably still crooked because of the time I slammed it in the door. She may even have scars on her arms from a my all the times fingernails dug into her skin. (It’s a wonder my sister and I are still friends.) I still have a scar on my forehead, a result of a gash in the head I received when jumping on the bed---- after my mother explicitly told me not to.
As I got older, the sins I confessed were different, but my struggles were the same. I tried harder, but, well, you know what happened. I wasn’t perfect, but I was better than some. I hadn’t murdered or robbed a bank.
But when I was a freshman in college, Jesus came walking into my life. I didn’t see Him at first, but I heard. I heard a girl in my dorm playing guitar and singing about Jesus. I thought I knew Him from Bible stories, pictures on the Christmas cards, and statues, but I was still in the dark about so many things.
Susan, the girl with the guitar, soon began including me in activities with her friends, and one evening she invited me to a Sunday night event at the Student Union. Susan’s boyfriend Dennis was playing in the band that was performing. I sat in a metal chair in the Union’s ballroom, nervously tapping my foot to the bluegrass music. I politely laughed at the corny jokes (like a door prize that consisted of a 14-carrot—yes, carrot-- ring). I listened with skepticism to testimonies of how Jesus changed lives. I’d come to hear the band, not to alter my beliefs.
Afterwards, as I hung around waiting for Susan, a girl with a raspy voice asked if she could explain a little booklet called The Four Spiritual Laws. Reading through a booklet seemed less awkward than standing around alone, so I thought, why not?
My new friend was struggling with laryngitis, but she was determined to share the gospel. As we read together through the little pages, I was hit with a Bible verse I’d never heard before.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB
Suddenly light bulbs came on in my brain. Of course I could never be good enough to deserve heaven because I could never be perfect. If I could enter heaven by doing good works, that would be cause for boasting. Salvation was a gift.
I had been blind to the grace that God offered to me through Jesus. But God in His mercy orchestrated events so that I could learn the truth. His Holy Spirit illuminated that truth so I could understand.
I had been blind. Now I see.
The blind man in John Chapter 9 was thrown out of the temple because he spoke of Jesus. Later, Jesus approached him and asked if he believed in the Son of Man.
“‘Who is he, sir? The man asked. ‘Tell me so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said, ‘You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.’ Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped him.” John 9:38
Like the blind man, I believed in Jesus., Though I still don’t have all the answers, my life has been a journey to get to know Him better. He has never let me down.
When confusing circumstances stir up doubts, when critics confront you with clever arguments, when you don’t have the answers, you can fall back on what you do know. Remind yourself of the little miracles you’ve seen, the times when you knew God was answering prayer. Think back to that time when God changed your life, and remind yourself of the one thing you do know:
I was blind, but now I see.
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