When it was time for me to move out and begin my Air Force career things didn’t change. Let me tell you, there are a few places where everyone is a Christian. Two of those are in war and in basic training. For a time on Sundays we were without our drill instructors to go to church and practice our religious beliefs. Well I believed I needed to get away from our drill instructors so I went to church. It wasn’t until after I graduated basic training that I finally was able to practice my own Sunday beliefs: sleeping in. I didn’t have to pretend to want to go to church, I could just pretend I had other things to catch up on. Easy enough. I was left alone and didn’t have to pretend I was interested in going to church.
There was one thing I didn’t have to pretend at. I didn’t have to pretend that I was interested in Jesus and God. I was very interested. I would see these people who seemed to have this unshakable faith and wonder where it came from. How did they get this rock-solid faith and I only had a heart full of questions? Anytime Jesus, God, or Church was brought up in a conversation I would avert my eyes and change the subject like someone who had just been caught lying. But I still had questions and I really didn’t know how to get them answered. I tried reading the Bible but I got a couple of chapters into Genesis and realized that I had heard all of these stories before and there was nothing new about them. It was like watching Titanic. Even though you know what’s going to happen at the end you secretly hope they don’t sink and that Leonardo DeCaprio doesn’t drown. But he does, every time.
Every time I tried to read the Bible it left me more empty than when I began reading it. I don’t want to say that the Bible was meaningless to me. The Bible itself was very meaningful. It was the words within the Bible that didn’t mean much to me. I didn’t understand the words and stories. They were stories I had heard before but I just didn’t understand their significance.
So I tried church again. I felt great when I went to church. Outwardly I felt like I was a better person for going to church. But on the inside I had the worst guilt. I was such a hypocrite. How could I go to church when I wasn’t sure I believed? How did all of these people around me have this unwavering faith? I couldn’t ask them. How embarrassing! To be going to church all this time and then ask someone, “Pardon me, but how do you know God is real?” Nope. That couldn’t happen. People don’t ask those questions. People are just supposed to believe without question. They are just supposed to have faith. But I didn’t have it so I stopped going.
So that was the cycle of my life. I can think of about seven attempts to find answers at new churches in my adult life. Never once was I able to ask someone about their faith. I knew that it was just something that God must have given certain people and I just wasn’t one of those people. But if he didn’t give me that faith, why did he give me all of this curiosity and nowhere to get answers? What an unjust God.