Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

August 3, 2011

Back Row

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Real details are difficult for me to recall.  But emotions of the event seem to always linger.  The details are mostly limited to the back row . . . the back row in the basement!  That sounds about as far away as one can be from the front!

It was this way.  I was a junior in high school.  I was not real bad . . . but I was not real good!  I had enough religious conviction to keep me pretty straight on the outside . . .  but not enough to cause inward commitment to Christ.

Our church was in a building program.  We were meeting in the basement that would become the fellowship hall.  The basement had been arranged to look like a worship center.  And there I was on that Sunday morning.  There, not necessarily by choice, but by the authorities who governed by home — my parents!  So, I was present for the worship service!  I was in my usual place!  I was on the back row!

I can’t remember much about the service — actually I don’t remember anything about the service except the end!  I believe the church had an evangelist speaking that day.  I don’t remember him or the message . . . because, as usual, I did not paid attention.  If it was a typical service, I was counting ceiling tiles, day-dreaming about the coming afternoon, trying to stay awake, or fantasizing about how I would ask the brunette on the other side of the aisle for a date, or something just as distracting.

I don’t even remember the end of the sermon — or the invitation.  But we had an invitation . .  it was a Baptist church!  I don’t know if someone pushed me, or if someone pulled me, or if I floated — but there I was standing at the front of the congregation, shaking hands with the pastor!

What was I doing?  Can you imagine!  Me!  Standing before these adults . . . and my peers.  I was making some kind of spiritual decision!  And look at me — I had tears in my eyes.  Why?

Oh, I don’t know what all was happening . . . or what happened to me that day.  But something did.  I was already a Christian.  I had even been baptized and joined the church.  I even had about seven years of perfect Sunday School attendance.  (Again, family law!)  So what was going on?  I believe God knew my hypocrisy and He was dealing with me about it.  Or maybe He was calling me to the ministry!  Heaven forbid!

Perhaps I was confessing some big sin . .  or at least a small, understandable, common one!  Maybe I just wanted to get some answers.  Or could I just have been unhappy, in turmoil, wanting something more from life?

As I said, I don’t remember the facts of why I made a public decision that day or what the decision was all about.  But I still remember the emotion of that morning!  I can’t say that my life totally changed from that day forward.  I know it was not long before my life turned back to “normal.”  Of course, that was not what God wanted.

One thing I do know is that it was needed in my life.  I am not sure I was thinking things through or seeking a spiritual experience.  But it happened — it is something God did in my life.  And even though there would be more sin, discouragement, and looking for directions in my life, I know that God used that Sunday morning on the back row in the basement to help build and mold my life.

I continue to need those experiences . . .

Consider some events in your life when you made some response and can’t explain why it happened.  Yet you do remember the moment and the emotions.  It has surely been a building block in maturing your life.  Don’t ever doubt the influence and power of God in your life.

“The Lord will guide you always.”  (Isaiah 58:11)



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