I had been raised with just a little bit of teaching about the Creator of the heavens and earth, and at the center of the teaching God was kind, benevolent, and forgiving—but then also angry, harsh, and judgmental. He could bless and He could punish.
In my college years, I went on a search for meaning in life and read the works of many noted philosophers, from the ancient Greeks to modern and contemporary thinkers, but this led to a greater sense of confusion.
By the time I was in my early twenties, I had few, if any, answers in life; I was driven to and fro by worldly ideas; and when it came to understanding good and evil, I simply had no understanding of source and causation.
One evening, over the telephone, a longtime friend who lived on the other side of the country asked if I had a Bible in the house. I did. She had me open it and read it, showing me verses that declared the goodness of God in very simple and direct terms. One of the verses we looked at was John 10:10, where it records that Jesus Christ came to make a life more than abundant available, and that there is also a competing element of evil in this life called the thief, Satan, the Devil. I learned that these were truths my friend had learned at a Christian fellowship she recently started attending. As we reviewed these verses, I was still quite skeptical. I just could not shake the old teaching that there was one God Who could and would both bless and punish. At the close of the conversation, we agreed to disagree and would perhaps talk about it some more another time.
The very next morning, I got up as usual to go to work. I had some tea and a quick breakfast and got myself to the bus stop, which was just a half of a block from my front door. It was a cool morning and the sun was out. I got myself a window seat on the right side of the bus, and within one block of the ride had a life-changing realization. The bus slowly pulled up to a stop right beside a fast-food restaurant that was popular among people who typically poured out of the neighborhood bars and clubs late at night. It was early in the morning, and there was trash lining the sidewalk all along the side of the restaurant. And not just trash, but also squashed packets of ketchup that had hardened to the cement, a couple of half-eaten burgers, some french fries strewn about, plus bags and drink containers—it was disgusting.
As we pulled away, it occurred to me in no uncertain terms: “What I am seeing cannot be of God.” It was at that moment that the simple teaching from the night before about John 10:10 clicked, and in an instant I understood the sources of good and evil in this life. Suddenly, I had some tools to understand not only the broader affairs of the world, but also how I could parse out various influences in my own life. As I started attending a Way Ministry fellowship in my own town, I started to learn how to apply God’s Word in day-to-day living and how to lay claim on the more abundant life Jesus Christ came to make available. I went from being tossed to and fro to standing strong, and over the subsequent twenty-five-plus years, this ministry has continued to deliver God’s Word in such a way that the more than abundant life continues and flourishes. I am thankful every single day.