All along I was visiting and learning from a student, Nick, who began to unfold for me the truth behind the Bible. He talked about how I could have a relationship with God that was alive and not just understanding words on a page. But I had retreated deeply. I was a LONG way from the island. Turning me would take more than words. Nick planted the seed, though he never saw the flower of faith bud, he did his job.
The real journey of faith is not the journey of salvation, rather the steps we take once that glorious truth is realized. My steps to holiness encompass more than the removal of small pebbles of behavioral change. I really had few behaviors that spiritual mentors saw as unbecoming. Others struggled with their sexuality, or drinking, or smoking. My struggle was WAY bigger than that. The first thing I had to do was decide whether or not I hated God. Strangely enough, I never doubted the existence as some of the cowards at college chose to do. No, I chose to fight the battle.
Was God “malicious” and “indiscriminate” and “inscrutable” as Melville described him? I have to say, that was my starting point. As I looked through my young life, it seemed the divine organizer had lost sight of me. Either He did not care or He hated me as much as I hated Him. So the first thing I had to do was decide if God really cared about me. When I focused on my circumstances, I concluded a resounding no. Words on a page or poetry in a song did not have the power to change that. I attended Campus Crusade for Christ get togethers on Fridays and even led small groups. Something different was needed. God chose to use my defiant nature to His advantage, at times against my desire. I became the resident defender of a faith I was not sure I had. I began to argue for God instead of with Him. I asked professors for a time to openly debate in class. I launched an open forum at school to receive every challenge against faith someone had. I received the very barbs I had delivered to others. I kept telling people the only reason they could not believe was that they were afraid. It was not their mind that had to be converted; it was their heart. And I got to see lives begin a path to transformation. It was exciting. I read and I read and I read. This time I was reading the Bible and all things related to it.