Thursday, November 7, 2013

On Becoming Atheist

I volunteered at a youth leadership conference recently and as I wrote my reflection paper for class, I closed my eyes and allowed myself to be swept away in the memories from the day.  Because the students in attendance were in middle and high school, my first reaction was to the surprisingly obvious age difference between us.  I felt old.  Though I'm only approaching 34, being married to someone who's nearing 54 makes it easy to feel like I'm still much more of a kid most of the time, which is why I'm sometimes caught off guard by the reality checks into my actual age.  As I watched this particular young group talk, laugh, and carry on as students their age do, I smiled a reminiscent smile while my mind traveled briefly back through time. For a moment I could almost touch the girl of my yesterday as she slammed her locker door shut and ran to class at a small public high school in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.  I watched her in my mind as she sat with friends laughing in the student center when suddenly, I was jolted back to the present by paper assessments and pens being shoved into my hand by hungry students racing to the breakfast table.  What stood out most about the day, however, was not my age or theirs, but the unexpected turn of events that led me from a role I had planned for weeks in advance to one I wouldn't have even imagined had it not been sprung on me at the last minute.  As I stood outside in the cold receiving my new instructions, I looked up, and in the corner of the building I saw a tall wooden cross that reminded me that God was with me and for me.  The change in plans was only a small part of a bigger picture to accomplish His purposes, so I was faced with the decision to either move forward and trust Him or stop right there and leave Him.