I grew up in a loving Christian home and have been going to church for my entire life. I’ve actually attended PVBC for just over 21 years. My parents (and their friends), grandparents (and their friends), most of my extended family (and most of their friends), and most of my friends were Christians. I accepted Christ at age 5 and believe I was truly made new then, but for the following 13 years, I remained contained in my extensive holy huddle. When I went to college at Mizzou, I had friends and classmates who truly cared about me who began to ask me if I really thought this whole Christianity thing could be true. Because I had been contained in a holy huddle for most of my life, I had no resources to refute the objections being lovingly sent my way. As time went on and the objections piled up, I began to seriously doubt everything I had ever believed. Finally, the pressure and doubt became too great, so I set out on the greatest spiritual and intellectual journey of my life to see what was really true of the world. I remember praying to God, “If you’re there, God, show me”.
I began extensively researching every major worldview (Christianity, atheism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Mormonism, etc.) to see which, if any were actually true. It was the darkest and most spiritually exhausting time of my life. To make matters worse, because so much of my social standing in Columbia and back home at PV was based around my involvement in church, I didn’t tell a soul about my doubts or intellectual pilgrimage. That was one of the greatest and most selfish mistakes I’ve ever made. I hit a point during the middle of my freshman year of college where I was basically convinced that Christianity wasn’t true. While still totally silent about my wrestling, I began to grapple with what reality looked like under a naturalistic/atheistic worldview.
A few weeks later, God used a sermon by Ravi Zacharias to turn everything around. I began to believe again that there just might be some truth in Christianity. After more intensive research, I had no doubt that Christianity and its claims were true. I can still remember sitting at my desk late one night in tears, after a particular discovery regarding the truth of a claim of Christianity, because it was like God was looking down at me smiling and saying, “I’ve been here the whole time”. While my research continued (and still does to a lesser degree today), my doubts about Christianity did not. At the time I would have said that it was the arguments and evidence that convinced me of the truthfulness of Christianity, but I can look back now and say that really, more than anything else, the Holy Spirit helped me see Jesus and all of his beauty in a way that I never had before. God drew me out to draw me back in deeper than ever. Through that pilgrimage, He showed me just how glorious and real His Son is. There is no one like Jesus. When that fact is coupled with an understanding of the overwhelming historical, philosophical, archaeological, and scientific support for the worldview that formed around him and his life, how could you not want to follow him with everything you have?
After this formative journey, God married my new intellectual passion for Christianity with my renewed passion for Him change me in a profound way. In His kind providence, God allowed me to share my passion for apologetics and the Gospel with the students of PV as I interned for the youth ministry. He’s allowed me to continue to use this passion to learn, teach, and share the Gospel at Mizzou, and now in PV College.
What have I done that God would be so good to me? Nothing. His kindness to me is due to nothing but His glorious grace. God’s not afraid of your questions and doubts. He’s far too great to cower when He hears them. In fact, those doubts may be the very thing God uses to ultimately draw you closer to Himself. I’m convinced more than ever that our faith isn’t supposed to be a blind grasp at a potential truth in the dark. Rather, it should be a powerful marriage of the head and the heart where our whole being is taken captive by the love and truthfulness of Christ and his Gospel.