I have relationships with churches, not God

2015_04_Life-of-Pix-free-stock-photos-church-sky-sun-light-leeroyRose* looked up as the weekly ladies’ Bible study leader approached her. “Something’s come up. Can you fill in for me?” Rose agreed and took the opportunity to share the gospel briefly as part of her talk. Afterwards, Amy, a native lady, approached her.

“Every church I’ve been to has talked about having a relationship with God. But it’s not a relationship with God I’ve had; it has been a relationship with a church.” Amy went on to express her realization that she didn’t understand the gospel, although she’d attended numerous churches for years and had been baptized in most of them. It wasn’t until she heard Rose’s simple explanation of the gospel that it hit her—what she’d been searching for in all those churches could only be found in the Lord. She’d had it all backwards.

Shortly after, Amy moved in with Marcia who was a friend of Rose. Amy was tireless in her search for truth. She asked so many questions that Marcia became quite exhausted. Finally, the woman offered Amy a copy of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, hoping it’d address her curiosity. Amy lost no time in reading the book. “Now I’m beginning to understand,” she told Marcia. But Amy’s questions didn’t abate. She still needed answers to some nagging questions she had.

Rose was approached with the hope that she could guide Amy through a study of By This Name, which addressed more foundational aspects of the biblical worldview. Amy responded to the distinctions made between the Bible’s message and the common beliefs of other worldviews highlighted throughout By This Name. Often, after reading about the contrasting ideas of these other worldviews, Amy would say, “Yes, that’s the same as we were taught by our native ancestors.” As they progressed, it became clear that Amy was putting the pieces of a biblical worldview together in her mind.

Just as the two women were about to read the final chapters where the book makes so many powerful connections between the Old Testament and the New, life suddenly erupted with many demands. Amy’s work became very demanding; then she had to move to another city, as well as take care of her ailing mother. Rose wondered if Amy understood enough of the Bible’s essential truths to build her beliefs on, or should they try to meet again to study the remainder of the book. Though Amy seemed to be finally grasping the gospel, Rose knew there were still many gaps in her understanding. She felt it vital to finish those last couple chapters.

Finally, several months later, the two women were able to reconnect to complete their study.

Upon wrapping up the final pages of By This Name, Amy said that she now felt she had assurance that she was saved—an understanding that she’d been long lacking. Rose was so thankful she didn’t give up on Amy, even after a three-month hiatus in their study.

Since then, Rose has been amazed to see the Lord’s continued work in Amy’s life. She has shown a growing discernment and a mature wisdom as she navigates this new journey of faith.

Having discovered a friendship with the Lord, Amy no longer attends church for her salvation, but in order to help strengthen her relationship with God.

(*Names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)

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