Feature

Faith like a Child

I traveled thousands of miles to find home

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“Faith like a child.” That expression is often heard when people talk about the type of faith one should have in God and Jesus Christ. It is a faith that trusts without question or hesitation, a faith that does not need specific answers to everything.

When I was a child, I did have faith in the Lord. But it was only faith that I was raised to have, not a belief of my own. I would go to church with the girls down the street as a social activity. By the age of six, all that had changed.

Lost in My Own House

At the age of seven, my older brother turned his back on God, and I followed in his footsteps. We saw how alcohol and drugs affected my father and our family. Due to my father’s problems and addictions, policemen had invaded our house in the middle of the night to arrest him for his multiple warrants. I wanted no part of a God who would allow those things to happen.

It is difficult for adults to maintain faith during rough times, even though they may have witnessed many miracles to prove God’s existence. But as children who had not yet witnessed God’s glory, it seemed like an easy decision for my brother and me to cease believing in Him after we had seen so many horrible things.

My mother left my father after his last arrest. She had no money to feed us or pay rent, so we moved around a lot as she worked two jobs. Although she was able to support us, not everything was great.

When I was 15, my ex-boyfriend called at 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve to tell me he was going to commit suicide. I did not believe him and made him promise to see me the next day. I called a friend and asked him what I should do. “Everyone our age threatens suicide at least once,” he said. Reassured, I went to bed and fell asleep.

The next morning my ex-boyfriend’s mother called. He had tried to kill himself and was on life support at the hospital. I was not allowed to see him because his mother thought I had something to do with it, so I sat in the waiting room for two days until he passed away.

A Roomie with a View

Since I had lost my faith as a child, I turned to science for answers. I no longer believed in anything I couldn’t prove, because God did not prove Himself to me. He did not show me His love and glory. I had been surrounded by hate and evil since I was young. I was not even loved by my own father.

I thought there was more evidence for evolution than for God, so in college I declared a major in biology with a focus in microbiology. I was placed with a roommate I did not know. Of the 60,000 students who attended the university, I got stuck with Maggie, whose family members had been missionaries in Nigeria for 10 years.

My roommate and I often talked into the night, but her faith did not sway my beliefs. Too many bad things happen to good people for there to be a God, especially one who is supposed to be so glorious and righteous, I thought. I reasoned that people need faith in God and Jesus Christ to give them hope to get through the day. On the other hand, I believed I was strong enough to continue my life without faith.

God Has a Plan

During my junior year, I was on a beach with a friend in Ohio, talking about our desires to travel the world and work in the Congo like Jane Goodall. A woman interrupted and told us about her recent trip to the Congo with her church. As the three of us talked, Irma invited us to join them the next time the group went.

“I don’t believe in God,” I blurted. I expected Irma to say, “Oh, never mind then.” Instead, she replied, “That’s fine! We would still love for you to come.” We exchanged e-mail addresses and went on our way.

A few months later, my friend asked if I still had Irma’s e-mail address. It was stuffed away in a notebook under my bed, and I knew exactly where to look. We found out that Irma wasn’t going to Africa again soon, but she invited us to go on a weeklong missions trip to Quito, Ecuador, instead.

I got my plane ticket and was looking forward to my first vacation ever! My motives were purely selfish. My friend was unable to go with me, so I flew to Ecuador alone. It was a huge leap of faith to meet up with people I barely knew in a country I had never been to, but I just felt it would be sweet!

Help My Unbelief

Cassie's testimonyWhen I arrived at the Nazarene seminary where the conference was held, I did not plan to go to the meetings and speeches. I was there just to go on the afternoon excursions. But since Irma and her family had not arrived yet, I decided to go to the seminar to try to make some friends.

The first speaker taught from a passage in Mark 9 about a boy with a demon. When they brought the child to Jesus, “the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’” (v. 24). That hit me like a truck, and I started to cry and shake. I told myself that my reaction was dumb and meant nothing, even though I had no idea why it happened. It wasn’t even a sappy story!

The rest of the week, I decided to listen to all the seminars to see if I could use science to rebut what the speakers said. But at almost every session I would start shaking and tearing up about the dumbest things. My emotions were taking over.

One morning I finally took a minute alone and asked God if He really did exist—and He filled my heart with the answer. I started crying, but I did not try to hold it back. That evening I told Irma and her family that I had come to God and believed in Jesus as my Savior. Her daughters, Ruth and Rachel, and their friend Katie were excited because I had been asking them questions all week about their faith.

On the last evening of Quito ’08, I was asked to share my testimony in front of everyone. It was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Even though I did not believe in Him, God had given me my university roommate and then Irma and her family to bring me to Him. He gave me all the people in Quito who inspired me, and He put the words that I needed to hear in their mouths. He used the bad experiences in my life to shape who I am today so that I could help lead others to salvation by sharing my story!

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