In several places on this site I’ve alluded to what I’ve described as my ‘faltering walk with God.’ In My Testimony I explain how, having known and experienced God’s love, together with the fellowship of a vibrant church community, I eventually shunned both, opting instead to walk alone for forty years in the wilderness that is the world outside the church.
To maintain a reasonable word-count for my Testimony I declined to mention that, during those years, I repeatedly had a desire to find my way back to that narrow path for which this site is named. At such times I’d reach for my Bible and dust it off. Then, aided by a small book of devotional readings on the theme of ‘First Steps in the Christian Faith’ I’d try to re-ignite my own spark of faith.
Each time I tried, I failed.
My efforts were doomed to fail. Without the support of others I may as well have been trying to clap with one hand.
There were occasions, however, when I’d seek out and attend an evangelical church in the hope that the fellowship of other Christians would add the necessary fuel that would turn the spark I mentioned earlier into a flame. Again, it wasn’t to be.
My sense of shame and inadequacy at failing to remain strong in my faith rose up like a wall around me. I was sure that, what I perceived to be the solid foundation of faith in others gave them an insight into my own shortcomings. To put it another way, I no longer felt worthy of God’s love.
I continued my walk, not knowing whether my defection from God had led to His rejection of me; not knowing whether, for this sinner, there was to be no way back to Him.
If you’ve read my Testimony you now know that wasn’t the case. You now know He welcomed me with open arms. As he does for all those He loves.
I’ll never know why I was unable to return to my life as a practicing Christian between the years 1983 and 2019. However, I’m sure God knows. Furthermore, I’m sure that He’ll use experiences I gained during those years in His plans.
I do know that living a Christian life – a life in which one strives to be Christ-like – is not something I or anyone else can do alone. Once again, it would be like trying to clap with one hand. No, I need God’s help to do this each and every day.
Nevertheless, I know that each day will have its victories and each day will have its failures. But, knowledge of this, accepting it and thanking God anyway becomes its own victory.
An awareness that I am inherently flawed, yet striving to follow in the footsteps of the one man who wasn’t creates an inner conflict – a duality of existence. This is not unique to me – it’s the same for all of us.
For me however, this is perfectly summed up in the words of the song ‘In the Middle’ by American Christian artists, ‘Casting Crowns’:
Somewhere between the hot and the cold. Somewhere between the new and the old. Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be, Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me. Somewhere between the wrong and the right. Somewhere between the darkness and the light. Somewhere between who I was and who You're making me, Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me. Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control? Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense. Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle. With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is. But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle? Are we caught in the middle? Somewhere between my heart and my hands. Somewhere between my faith and my plans. Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves. Somewhere between a whisper and a roar. Somewhere between the altar and the door. Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more, Somewhere in the middle You'll find me. Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control? Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You're by my side, Loving me even on these nights when I'm caught in the middle.
Should you wish to hear the song performed, click here.