“Church and state can’t be separated!” I distinctly remember one girl reacting to my comment as though I had just told her her hair was on fire. Which would have been an actual tragedy because she did have nice hair.
They were Christians. I was not. I didn’t go to a religious college at that time. I just happened to be surrounded by Christians in almost all of my classes. Something that still makes me laugh.
We stood there in the choir room after class, arguing. Myself and one other Democrat against an army (okay, there were only like 7 of them) chatted on about church vs. state. Lots of terms I didn’t understand. But, oh, I held my ground. Ignorantly. But, I didn’t budge. Until I decided to leave and go for a walk to avoid conflict. Conversation over. At least, publicly. The conversation in my heart continued for a few months and, now, decades later. You want to know what I took away from that conversation?
People my age care about God?
Around that same time, I remember greeting a friend in that same choir room and asking “Hi! How are you today?” to which she replied “Great! I was reading in 1 Corinthians this morning and was so refreshed by God’s Word!”
People my age read the Bible?
These people were normal. They weren’t all perfect or holier than thou people. In fact, some of them were really struggling with their faith and made poor decisions. That semester, I got a front row seat to see real faith in action, real families getting along and functioning well, a real God who had transformed lives.
Long story short-ish, I ended up going to a Bible study with one of my classmates. I was curious about these Christians that seemed so normal and yet so different. Why were their values so different? They were my age. Aren’t we all chasing the same things, here?
From there, my curiosity led me to attend a local church worship service on a weekly basis. Maybe church is what I need. Kick some bad habits. Get myself straightened out for awhile. Oh, and did I ever need some straightening out. You know what I wasn’t prepared for? Grace. God’s grace.
I wasn’t very eloquent. I didn’t do the ABC’s (Admit that you are a sinner, believe that Christ has died for you, confess that Jesus Christ is Lord), but my heart cried out those ABC’s.
Jesus, I need You. I know that You are what is missing from my life.
That was December of 2004. It will be 10 years ago this fall. 10 years of God’s grace lavished upon my life. 10 years of learning how the Bible applies to my daily life. 10 years of hard things, wonderful things, terrible things, incredible things. And a God, in the midst of those things, who has never left me or forsaken me. And it all started with a debate in a choir hall.
J. Rae is the author of the children’s e-book “There Once Was A King” (available on Kindle) which tells the story of redemption that has radically transformed her life. She lives with her baby girl and hubby in Ontario, Canada. J.Rae blogs at www.jraewrites.com.