Raised in the Conservative Baptist Church, I was taught that once we are saved we are always saved. One Sunday, at about the age of seven, the Sunday School teacher was explaining that to us in class.
It didn’t seem possible, so I asked her, “If this is true, then what happens if I get saved, and then decide I don’t want to have anything to do with Jesus. I murder, steal and hate people until the day I die. Will I still go to heaven??
The teacher looked at me impatiently and said, “Yes, but only by the skin of your teeth.”
I replied innocently, “Teeth have skin?” At which point she told me to stop asking questions and sit down and behave.
Once in our high school class, our Student-teacher decided it would be a wonderful exercise if each week when we met, we each would share something that God had done for us during that week. That sounded simple enough. God was doing something wonderful every day of my life – all I had to do was look out the window and I was amazed at the beauty of all His creation!
Each Sunday I shared something exciting that I had noticed or seen that week. And each week afterward I was the first to share — to the glare of everyone else who had not noticed anything and preferred not to share. I didn’t get that …
Through a series of events I had missed several Sundays and was discouraged because of how difficult it had been to be with my church friends lately. They always had something else to do, or when we showed up for a church project, they would find an excuse to leave for some imagined errand while I stayed to do the work. (like painting the classroom). It took me a while to notice the pattern … duh …
The pastor and the youth pastor came to my house to see what had happened to me and as I sat in bed with the flu (or whatever it was) the youth pastor put his head down and then said, “Shannon, I have to ask you something.”
“Okay,” I said. Completely not expecting his next comment.
The kids have been talking … they seem to think that you’ve been making up the things that you think God is doing in your life so that you’ll look better than them. That’s why they don’t like being around you. “What??” I exclaimed. “How could anyone not notice everything God is doing on the Earth, every day of our lives?” The concept of appearing ‘better’ than anyone had never crossed my mind.
Then things started getting interesting …