Since I was a little kid, I dreaded seeing roller coasters from a distance. I don’t like to feel fear, so the few times that I actually rode a roller coaster (the worst being the Space Mountain at Disney World) has been bad experiences. Just like a roller coaster, my personal growth in faith has been turbulent. I have found myself going up and down, sideways, fast and slow. I have felt confusion and frustration. I have also felt happy when I am up (like going to the highest point of the roller coaster) but then start feeling disillusioned again when I start going down in my faith.
About ten years ago I learned that having doubts is not a barrier, but a step towards learning more about God. So I have embraced my doubts as tools to motivate myself into knowing God more. I have also learned not to conclude that I already know God. That would be choosing to stop growing and settle with an incomplete notion of God. It also limits me from fully experiencing God. David wrote in Psalm 105:4 “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek his presence continually!” Getting to know Him has been my “roller coaster”.
Sometimes I doubt, and sometimes I feel closer to God. But I am always seeking. The day that I stop seeking, the day that I decide that I know everything there is to know about life and God, then that day I will move farther from God. I believe that this is a continuous transition. I have grown from thinking that I must believe in certain doctrine in order to be “saved” to accepting the fact that allowing myself to grow is truly my Salvation. Sometimes I don’t like the circumstances, but I remind myself that it is temporary.
I learned I am part of a bigger purpose. I have grown from believing that the reason to live is to simply go to church and be a good “Christian”, to believing that my purpose in life is much greater than that. My purpose is to serve, in a genuine way, in order to please God, not men (Colossians 3:23). I am beginning to look at the bigger picture. I am here temporarily. Like the famous author Rick Warren said in his book “The Purpose Driven Life”, life is not about me. This is a test to prepare me for the “real” life. I believe that Matthew chapter 5 (The Beatitudes) introduces the instructions for living the Kingdom of Heaven. Loving our neighbors as we love ourselves has been repeatedly stressed as the number one reason for being on earth by Jesus and His followers (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 19:19, 22:39, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8, 1 John 4:21.
I have also grown from thinking that I must prosper in order to be happy. I believed that when I am suffering financial hardship, it meant that I am not right with God. But now I believe differently. I believe that being poor and having necessities is actually an opportunity to learn to depend more on God. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says ” Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Jesus said “Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth…. but in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). James 2:4 says “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” It is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Mark 10:25).
In summary, my growth has been and continues to be fluent. I have accepted my doubts, continue to learn more about God, serve others more, and be content with simplicity and scarcity. Looking at the bigger picture, instead of worrying about the little details of life, has helped me to see things the way God sees. it. I must live the Kingdom of Heaven by living the example of Jesus. “Your Kingdom come, your will be done” should be my daily prayer.