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By Nick P.

I'd like to share with you a little about myself. I call this article what I call it because it's a line from my favorite movie seires,  the Matrix. I got the idea listening to Greg Koukl's "No Pixie Dust" in his "Weathering The Storms" series and from a conversation I had last night. (The night before writing this.) I had a girl who I know talk to me about her life.

It wasn't about her past but a present situation. She told me she was struggling. That she was dealing with some issues on salvation and it sounded like being tempted to forsake the gospel but not wanting to do that. It was the temptation to return to life as before. I listened not out of shock really but out of familiarity. I knew those struggles. I'd been there before.

And I did end up helping her by pointing that out. This was something really common. This is something all Christians go through. Spriitual growth is difficult and hard and you will not have all the answers. You will be struggling. You will be doubting. You will have some anger in you and I'm personally convinced anger against God is against a false God. If we knew God as he really is, we would not be angry with him I think.

But I thought that maybe some people are looking at me the way this girl was looking at people at her church. Always happy with a "Praise the Lord!" and not having any problems with anything. My own personal reply to her was that such a belief is baloney. A lot of Christians put on their church faces when they go to church. They don't show what's underneath.

So I figured I'd let you know I'm not like that. I'm gonna reveal some about myself but not all. I'll let you know I'm not gonna share everything. Many of my friends will know I'm not sharing all my problems but only what I think you need to know. I do hope to share enough to show you that if you are having the same struggles my friend was having, you're not alone.

In the Screwtape letters C.S. Lewis puts in the mouth of demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood these words which I thoroughly enjoy. They seem contrary to a lot of Christianity today but I believe they are true. Remember that Screwtape is writing from the view of the side of the enemy in saying this:

You must have often wondered why the enemy [God] does not make more use of his power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree he chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the irresistible and the indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of his scheme forbids him to use. Merely to over-ride a human will (as his felt presence in any but the fainitest and most migrated degree would certainly do.) would be for him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For his ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve.....sooner or later he withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs--to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish.....He cannot tempt to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away his hand.....Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending, to do our enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

I really like that.

Now right now I'm 22. I turn 23 on September 19, 2003. I was raised Christian but in a Methodist church. I don't remember ever hearing the gospel. I remember though being in Sunday School and either being the only one there or the only male there. (Today being the only male there would be awesome but when you haven't reached puberty yet, it's hardly a thrill.)

Thus, I went across the street to my friend's church. I heard the gospel and accepted Christ. I'm not really sure if I fully understood it. I don't remember telling my parents even. It was just the natural thing to do. It seemed like a good deal at the time and I accepted it.

Now I didn't have much drastic change although I'm convinced I understood the Bible a lot more then. I was still the same fun-loving kid with some differences. I remember reading through the Bible then and just going straight through as I've done 5 more times since then and I'm working on time number 7. (I'm also going through it on CD. A great tool to have whenever you're in the shower. You can hear something beneficial rather than just singing yourself.)

But I still had the same interests. I had TV shows I enjoyed and I still really loved video games. In fact, a lot of that is true today. I can go to the arcade and wipe the floor with someone and evangelize to them afterwards. I do watch less TV but there are shows I don't miss. Mainly, you never call me when Smallville is on. It is my favorite show today. I know all the episodes by order and their titles. I read all the books and get all the comics.

But when some personal strife came into my life late in High School it got me searching for truth. Was I really a Christian? Had what happened when I was 11 at the Baptist church took? What if I was fooling myself? I knew though that the only answer ultimately was in Christ. Thus, off to Bible College I went.

I've thoroughly enjoyed it also. I have learned a lot. I've learned a lot I disagree with too. I can't say I embraced everything every professor said but I have gotten a lot of things I consider valuable and I think I relate to the professors on a different level. When we talk it doesn't seem like I'm a student and they're professors. We're all Christian thinkers working together.

But it was there that I found out about apologetics. I heard someone describe it once and when I was on the internet I realized something. Not everyone believes what I believe! I had someone recommend "More Than A Carpenter." by Josh McDowell. I read it and loved it. Then I remembered "Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel I'd heard someone talk about and knowing the synopsis I got it. That book included the names of 13 other leading thinkers. With that, I was more than equipped to move onward.

Now it's 2003. I've grown a lot since then spiritually and intellectually. I still have my own problems. Relationships are probably my biggest weakness but those who I am close friends with know they can depend on me. Yes. When I think about God now I do think in far deeper terms than I used to. The word "Trinity" carries a lot more meaning than it does to others.

But I will say there is still a lot of confusion. There's still a lot of growth to do and that's the good thing. If I'd ever thought I'd reached the pinnacle, I wouldn't start growing anymore. I'd become complacent and that can never be good in the Christian life.

So what am I saying this all for? I'm saying this because I want you to know you're in good company if you're perplexed at your faith at times as well. Too often Christianity is presented as being a feeling or being something that always makes you happy. Christ never promised either of those. We shouldn't either. Yeah. He'll give us abundant life but it's not what Americans typically take abundant life to mean.

My hope for you and for myself and others would be that we'll just trust. We don't know where the ride is going. Oh we know the ultimate destination but we don't know all the twists and turns. That's fine though. We know who's driving us. He'll drive us into hard times but he'll bring us to the end safely.

Dear Christian friend. Simply trust the driver. It's the only thing that keeps me going and I'm sure it will work for you as well.

In Christ,

Email the author at Apologianick@wmconnect.com