Today is Part 1 of the journey of a former agnostic, raised in a strong Christian home. God transformed him into a passionate follower of Christ. T.J. has eagerly agreed to share his story in an attempt to give hurting parents hope for their son or daughter.
Once upon a time, not that long ago, the deepest, most venomous anger, hatred, and bitterness were eating me alive from the inside out. Nearly a decade of rejecting God had finally caught up with me. The burdens of greed and selfishness were at long last caving in.
I was dying in my heart, and there was no one to blame but me. In that moment I faced one terrifying question: What on earth had I done?
On the outside, my image didn’t add up. Raised in a devout home, I went to a private Christian school, had two amazing parental examples, and was taught to memorize the Bible from a young age. But, by the time I got to high school I’d grown bored with everything that had to do with God and church.
Blah, blah – I knew the stories. Blah, blah – Christ died. Blah, blah – life with God is wonderful. Blah, blah, blah. I was tired of the same old, same old.
So one day, when I was about fifteen-years-old, I consciously and purposefully, shut the door on God. As far as I was concerned that was it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still acknowledged God’s existence, that’s why I firmly maintained my status as an agnostic and NOT an atheist. My whole thing was, “There’s too much beauty in the world for there not to be a God.” But it didn’t go beyond that. I made sure it didn’t.
Then came college and the long, endless nights of hard-partying, downtown clubbing, bar-hopping, shameless liquor, girl-chasing, and unrestrained, recreational party drugs. Even scarier was the fact that I convinced myself I was having the time of my life.
Then something happened: I met a special, young lady and fell deeply in love. With that relationship came a tight-knit, close group of wonderful, caring friends. As far as I was concerned, I had everything I could ever want. I finally had someone who loved me for me, and a group of loyal friends.
But I was still the same greedy, self-absorbed guy I’d always been. Eventually, I neglected my lady, took advantage of her love and our relationship shattered in an instant. Once everything was broken, we both fell into a deep, nightmarish, downward spiral. When the smoke finally cleared, she left me. When our friends found out, many of them left, too. I was broken and bleeding on the battlefield of a war I’d been waging against myself and everyone around me.
In that moment of poisonous anger, bitterness, and hate, I realized how I’d destroyed everything wonderful in my life.
How will God reach this young man? Does he sound a lot like your son or daughter? What words of advice does this twenty-something have for you? Find out on Sunday, when I post Part 2 .
Until then, here’s something positive from T.J. for you to hold on to:
Never give up on your children, no matter how old they are.
Thank you, T.J. You’re so right.
Be encouraged by this Bible verse:
“When you cry (pray) to the Lord in your trouble, he will deliver you from your distress . . . He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart (Psalm 107:6, 14.”