Exploring My Faith

Jun 18, 2023

When I was small, my mother would go to the church on off-days to practice music or prepare songs for our Junior Choir. She’d bring me along and let me wander the big empty church building as she did her work. Our church was a vast, exciting adventureland to a curious little girl! I would go pew by pew and straighten the hymnals and the offering envelopes. I’d “dust” the hardwood floors in the sanctuary by “swimming” like a fish under the pews. I’d scuff my feet on the dark green wool aisle carpet, building up static electricity so that when I touched the fancy metal stand next to the piano it made a huge, loud SPARK!

I’d sneak behind the baptistery and stare, up CLOSE, at the hand-painted mural on the wall there. I was astounded at the beautiful scene—at the paint applied in such thick strokes, yet conveying such amazing detail to the river, rocks, and trees in the picture. I couldn’t believe that the paint wasn’t WET! It really looked as if that river was flowing right into the baptistery!

Another wonder was the big stained glass window, over the front entrance of the church, depicting Jesus walking on a cloud. I’d climb the stairs to the balcony, and as I stood under the window, I’d imagine that Jesus was stepping down toward me right out of the sky! The light coming through the stained glass made the colors appear different inside than they looked on the outside. The bumpy “cloud” under Jesus’ feet looked to me a bit more brown than white, which confused me a little. Nonetheless, I would bend my 6-year-old knees by the short pew under the window, fold my hands just so—trying to look like the picture of the little girl on my Sunday School quarterly—and say a prayer … to Jesus on the Giant Pinecone.

I loved the “holy feeling” I got when I was in that building. It was a SAFE place, where the presence of God seemed to hang in the air. Jesus’ face in the stained glass window looked like He was smiling right at ME. It made me WANT to pray … and to be good. To this day, I still feel He is smiling at me—and I STILL want to pray and be good.

“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” (Proverbs 8:17 KJV)

I think that exploring my church as a child helped to establish my young faith. In my Sunday School classroom, I would stare at the picture of “Jesus, the Good Shepherd.” I learned to picture Jesus that way when I prayed. I loved to bury my hands in the big green washtub of cool sand that my teacher used as a foundation for her stand-up Bible story figures. I studied the framed collage of old photographs, taken of the church when it was built, and of the early church people—many of whom were members of MY own family. To some, these were just old photos—but to me, these were my “roots.” My FAITH’s roots.

How long has it been since you revisited where YOUR faith began? What did your Sunday School teachers instill in you? Can you still recall Bible verses you learned as a child? … remember songs you used to sing that made your heart happy? When did you first feel—or KNOW—that Jesus loved YOU? How did your life change when you knew your sins were forgiven? When the Holy Ghost first flooded your soul? Perhaps your roots of faith don’t go all the way back to when you were a child—but you can still trace those roots to where your faith began.

“And he shall be like a tree planted …” (Psalm 1:3 KJV)

Every tree is constantly changing, with branches, leaves, and fruit—all growing, sprouting, producing, and falling away—season after season. But the roots of the tree are not seasonal; they stay the same. Branches and leaves can be shifted by a whisper of wind, but the unmoving roots determine the stability of the tree, even through the storms and seasons.

This is particularly true when it comes to the roots of our FAITH. Seasons come and go, and we are forced to make changes in all aspects of our lives. But, our roots—our roots of FAITH—need never change; only to grow deeper, wider, and stronger. Growing comes by continually revisiting our roots of faith—remembering what we’ve learned and reinforcing what we KNOW.

How does exploring our roots stabilize our life? “It impacts our PAST because it helps us understand where we came from and how we developed into the person we are now; it affects our PRESENT life because it helps us remember what is truly valuable; and it influences our FUTURE because it helps us to determine what path to take to achieve the desired result and to avoid repeating mistakes.” (Dr. Michelle Bengston)

Prayer: Dear LORD, I love going back in my memory and exploring where my faith began. Since I was small, You’ve gently led me, held me, and carried me. Even before I knew you, You knew me—and loved me. Thank You for teaching me to “seek You early” for that has proved to be a stable foundation for my whole life.