YOUR ULTIMATE CHOICE Articles
Bart JohnsonI began to question my beliefs.
I grew up in the small country town of Brownwood, Texas. From a young age I attended church regularly with my family. I learned about Jesus and His teachings, but unlike many, I don’t remember having a specific experience in which I accepted Jesus as my Savior. However, from a young age I placed my faith in Jesus Christ.
I knew that Jesus was my Savior, but I never really put into practice what I learned. I would sit in the church pew and instead of listening to the sermon, I would usually day dream of football. I couldn’t wait to get out of church to catch the Dallas Cowboy game that afternoon.
When I was in high school I was a good kid. I hung out with the right people, didn’t do drugs, didn’t drink, but still something was missing. I focused my whole life on sports like football and soccer and when I wasn’t busy with that I was chasing girls or outdoors fishing or hunting. I lived a good life and everything was running smoothly until my senior year of high school. One night watching TV I saw a special about heaven. During the program, an atheist talked about her belief that there was no God. It hit me hard. I began to question my beliefs and doubt God’s existence. I really struggled with this and began to experience anxiety.
I started focusing on my faith. The way I was living my life wasn’t wrong, but there was something missing, a void that sports and girls couldn’t fill. At church I started focusing on the sermons and attending Sunday school again, for I hadn’t been in probably seven years. I started reading the Bible regularly and this was probably the most important tool that helped my faith grow. God’s word really started working in me. Throughout the spring of my senior year of high school I still struggled with anxiety and doubts but this fueled me to seek to know God more and more.
Then one night as I was coming home from my friend’s ranch, I had an anxiety attack and I started questioning again the existence of God and my faith. I prayed, “God, I am sick of the anxiety, and the thoughts Satan is putting in my mind. Just take over, and I will follow.” Then suddenly, in front of me, a blue streak shot across the sky about three times as big as a shooting star. A peaceful feeling came over me and at that moment I knew everything was going to be okay. It sounds crazy, but it really happened.
It was during that time in my life I had to decide if I was going to play football in college. I was a pretty good high school player but I wasn’t the fastest, tallest, or strongest. Instead, God had blessed me with great hands, a good brain, and a big heart. But I hadn’t received any offers from the colleges I wanted to go to and was pretty bummed out. For a week I decided that I wasn’t going to play football any longer and just go to college. Then one day my high school football coach and I had a long talk about it. I went home and for the next couple days I prayed. After much prayer I decided to take a preferred walk on deal to Texas Christian University.
I always thought that after I got serious in my walk with the Lord that life would be a lot easier. But it’s just the opposite, and the trials and obstacles only seem to strengthen my faith. I am still young and continuing to mature in my faith and I know this maturing process will continue until I die, but each day on this earth gets better knowing that God is always there for me.
Today I keep my faith strong through the Bible, church and family support, and by spending time in the outdoors hunting and fishing. This is something I really took for granted when I was growing up in a rural area where hunting and fishing opportunities were everywhere. Just being by myself out in God’s nature, watching deer feed 20 yards away, while the sun is rising, is a spiritual adventure that I wish all people could experience.
I still have ups and downs but I get through by remembering that I have a lasting relationship with God and that He will never abandon me. One of my favorite Bible verses to think about is Romans 8:28 which says: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”