Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

Two Sets of Hands (Part II)

I left off last time with a choice. Tunica, MS or Houston, TX.
I said before that the deceiver “used the fairer sex to blind my eyes, plug my ears, and harden my heart towards God.”
This is where I see the Glorious Creator, who said “let there be” and there was, beginning to give me the blessed gift of eyes that see, ears that hear, and a heart that understands (Genesis 1/Matthew 13:13-17)

I began to see Houston vs Tunica as good vs evil. In Tunica, with its outrageous number of casinos and strip clubs per capita, I had the promise of a job that probably would have paid very well, and the freedom to seek all the pleasure that I could handle. I didn’t have any family or friends there, but it was only a four hour drive to my home town and I was sure that people would come visit me- especially if I was able to dish out comp rooms and casino chips.
In Houston I had the opportunity to make up for lost time with my brother, who left for college when I was 8, got Masters and Doctors degrees, and got married. My brother’s two little boys also definitely factored in to the equation. There are also a gazillion jobs in Houston, so I was not worried about the fact that I had a better lead towards a job in Tunica.

I began wondering how I would feel about myself if I made money by using my personality and talents to facilitate people throwing their money away at a casino, and my brother expressed similar feelings.
He also brought up another point that I had been considering- that I might find the woman that I woud marry in Houston. I had been comparing the kind of girl that I would have to choose from in the two cities, and Houston was definitely leading the race. This might have been inaccurate or an overgeneralization, but I thought that I would mainly come into contact with strippers, casino girls, and female customers of the casinos. This was where the train of thought that I used in the note “Lets Talk About Sex” originated. I decided that Houston, if only because of population, provided the best opportunity to find a quality wife and mother of my children. In short, everything that was pulling me to Tunica was selfish and sinful. And everything pulling me towards Houston, while not all my reasons were necessarily good, were at least less selfish and less sinful.

So, I moved to Houston.
The number one thing that God used for His glory through my salvation was Jim Hamilton, Jr. We had a few conversations about my beliefs, and he would just absolutely shatter my strongest arguments. I discussed the effects of Columbine on my faith, and he talked about the 12 disciples all being willing to die for their belief that Jesus was the Messiah and rose from the dead. That all sounded good to me, but I was still holding out and clinging to the belief that the Bible was not the Word of God and that it did not have any credibility.
My brother left me grasping for straws, and as I was holding on to the only one I had- that the Bible was not credible- Lee Strobel was waiting to take away that possibility.
Ben Young, a pastor at Second Baptist Church in Houston also contributed to the end result. I had come to the conclusion that Christian girls in general had more of the traits that I was looking for in a potential wife, and I believed that Christians, although I believed they were misled, were in general more virtuous and better people than non-Christians. So I decided that I could accept a wife who was misled, but virtuos and a good person, and that if she wanted to take our kids to church, I could sacrifice my Sunday mornings so that my children would be more virtuous and better kids. My brother’s church is relatively small and does not have a whole lot of members or visitors in my age range. It is growing and the numbers in my vicinity have increased, but at the time there were even fewer than there are now. I was playing in a basketbal league at Second, and knew some guys who went there. I knew that it was an enormous church, and I figured that I had a better chance of finding what I was looking for in my “ideal girl” there. So I visited one Sunday. I communicated with my friends that went there, but did not set up any way to meet them there or find out where they sat. So, I ended up sitting towards the back by myself.
Ben preached about looking at where you have been, where you are, and where you are going in your life, and about God’s influence on all three. This is where I first realized that I could clearly see two sets of outside hands on my life when I looked at my past. Some people would probably read this and label these things as coincidences and say that this is an example of a Christian conveniently labeling good things as gifts from God and bad things as the devil’s doing. I would answer that challenge with this question: how many coincidences have to line up before you stop seeing the events as coincidences? How many consecutive times does a coin have to land on heads before you realize that it is a two-headed coin?
There were too many coincidences that converged just right in both my journey away from God and my journey back to God for either one of them to have not been influenced by greater powers.


August 25, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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