June Hunt, a Christian counsellor and conference speaker, recently sent me an 8 CD set of talks entitled, Spiritual Abuse:Religion At Its Worst. As I listened to the disks, I realised anew the extent of how I ran on a treadmill of false expectations during my time at a cult church. Being an untutored convert, I knew no better and believed this church to be the only one with the complete truth of God.
Here is an excerpt from my upcoming manuscript, How I Was Razed, in which it was obvious thirty-five years ago that I had my faith placed in my own faith rather than in the heavenly father.
Though I played guitar during the worship services that summer, I felt increasingly superfluous. “I really don’t feel like I’m doing anything for the Lord,” I confessed to Sister R at supper one Wednesday. “I’ve learned a lot from Brother H but I still feel unfulfilled.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I’m not able to witness to people much since I can’t easily read the Bible. I still haven’t been healed either.”
“You pray every day, don’t you?”
“Well yeah, but what good is it?
“What good is it?” she exclaimed. “The apostle, Paul, wrote that the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. You’re able to run interference for Jesus by your prayers. They help him win spiritual battles.”
“Really? Wow! I didn’t know that. You mean I can actually help God just by praying?”
“Of course you can. There’s power in prayer. You’re praying in the name of Jesus. Demons tremble at the sound of it because they know it unleashes God’s power.”
As I ate, I pondered what Sister R had told me. Maybe I wasn’t as useless as I felt. Throughout my life, people had given me the impression that I was a problem to be dealt with instead of an equal. Because of this encouragement, I prayed longer and more determinedly.
Perhaps it was another coincidence that Brother H taught on prayer and the unjust judge a week later. Turn to Luke Eighteen, verse eighteen,” he instructed. Then he read aloud, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, ‘There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, “Avenge me of mine adversary.” And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”‘ And the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?'”
Brother H looked at me and said, “This teaches us that we must keep our faith strong. Many people don’t receive what they pray for because they give up too soon. Remember what James wrote about the man who is unstable in all his ways? It’s imperative that you never give in and quit believing that God will give you what you ask for.”
As soon as Sister E drove me home and I was safely in my room, I sat on my bed and begged Jesus to give me my sight. Though my vision grew no better, I worked hard to stifle my feeling of discouragement.
I mentioned my Christian faith briefly in my When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) and Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoirs. In How I Was Razed, I document my journey from naive convert, through the many years in which I was deceived, my rebellion against what I’d been taught, and final acceptance of God’s real nature as revealed in Scripture. Feel free to e-mail me or visit my InScribe Writers Group page for more information.