A Story of God's Faithfulness When I Was Weak

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, June 11, 2014 2 comments

by Logan Ames

Unlike many students, I thought very little about what I was going to do after high school while I was still in it. I spent a lot of time focusing on my social and dating life, as well as youth group and church activities. Looking back on it now, I think I was probably just nervous about change so I attempted to avoid it. I certainly was not mature enough to go far away from home, from either a spiritual or worldly standpoint. As high school came to a close, I decided the best thing I could do was save money by staying at home, attending a local community college which happened to be one of the best in the country, and continuing to work. I had an interest in police work after growing up in the home of a police officer, so I entered Harrisburg Area Community College and began work toward a degree in criminal justice. Little did I know how much God would simultaneously use that education in my life AND show me that he was calling me to something more.

After my first year of college, my dad and I took a road trip and on this trip, I finished reading a book called “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire” by Pastor Jim Cymbala. Through this book, preaching experiences, and confirmation from others that I trusted, I sensed God’s call for me to be a pastor. No sooner did that call become obvious to me than I began to try to make sense of it from a worldly standpoint. I thought about finances, discomfort, change, and the sacrifices I might have to make. I concluded that the best thing to do would be to finish out a degree (3 more years of school) and then save up some money and try to figure out the “best” time to make the move to seminary. I certainly didn’t have the “leave my net and my father at once and follow Jesus” approach that the first four disciples had when Jesus called them away from fishing in Matthew 4:18-22. To that point, do you realize that the only time in Scripture that Jesus really told his followers NOT to move forward with his mission was when they were commanded to wait for the promised Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49)? I know there are times when his followers have to be patient to see which way God is going to move. But when his call and mission are clear, we’re to move forward with total faith and abandonment of self. When we delay even a little bit or try to “wait for the perfect time to move forward”, doubt creeps in, our passion dwindles, and the ideal time or situation never seems to come.

It didn’t take long at all for the passion I got from that initial sense of knowing God’s call to go away. I went back for my second year of college and back to the grind of full-time school and work. My life at that time was filled with things that I would say fit the criteria of “everything that hinders” in Hebrews 12:1. They weren’t necessarily “bad” things at that point, but were certainly keeping me from God’s best. During the second half of that school year, my activities evolved from “everything that hinders” to “the sin that so easily entangles” (also Hebrews 12:1). Lacking passion and excitement from following God, I turned to what my friends were doing. I attended parties and even went to Toronto for a week on Spring Break. It was a trip sponsored by the criminal justice department of the school, but it was essentially a chance to party. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to get into the details of what went on during that week, but very little of it was God-honoring. There was nothing about my actions that said, “This guy realized nine months ago that God is calling him to be a pastor”. But even while I was weak, God was faithful.

Like the father who allowed his prodigal son to leave and welcomed him back, God allowed me to chase after all of those empty pleasures until I saw them for what they were. I came back from that trip to Toronto and thought those “friends” would stand by me forever. When I decided I didn’t want to “party” to the level they did anymore, they turned on me in an instant. As my time at the community college came to a close, I got back involved with my church but felt very ashamed of my actions and very hurt by the loss of my so-called “friends”. That’s when God REALLY showed up.

I made the decision that spring and summer to continue my studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, mainly because it was cheap compared to other options. I knew it was known as a “party school” and would be the first time in my life that I left my home, family, and church to venture into the unknown and uncomfortable. Knowing that I was weak and susceptible to those temptations, and knowing what a critical time this would be in my life, I asked my pastor and others to pray for me at our last Wednesday night prayer meeting before I moved away. I’ll never forget their specific prayers that God would surround me with other believers as soon as I got to the school and guide me in my relationship with him. I’ll never forget those prayers, mainly because of how obviously they were answered.

When I got to the school and my dorm, the very first person I met BEFORE I even entered my room was a young man across the hall who happened to be a brother in Christ. He and his roommate were playing Christian music and had a poster on their wall that I had seen at church camp. This man, known to us as “B.T.”, would become a friend, accountability partner, Bible-study participant, and brother when I needed it most. He and I sharpened one another and sought other Christian organizations on campus. We took part in several ministries before finally settling on Campus Crusade for Christ. The next two years in that ministry would ignite the passion for Jesus I thought I had lost, teach me how to be a leader both in the Church and to the unsaved, and build godly friendships that would last for years. To this day, B.T. and I are both pastors, and I have a group of Christian brothers from that ministry that I still meet with once a year even though we are scattered literally across the globe. I will meet with them in July of this year when our one friend comes home from South Korea!

If that isn’t enough, my roommate for that week of partying in Toronto was a childhood friend who knew I was a Christian but did not see me live it that week. He was not a Christian. However, I got a Facebook message from him some eight years later after I had moved to Findlay, Ohio to finally pursue a seminary degree. In that message, he talked about how he could see from my profile page that I was a Christian, and how he came to faith just a few years after college! Wow! I did absolutely nothing to make my life a witness to him or anyone else. If anything, my actions were an indication that a relationship with God did not need to be taken seriously. But the work of the Holy Spirit was not dependent on me. It could not be stopped. Even when I was weak, God was faithful. He was faithful in my life and faithful in the lives of those around me when I was not a good ambassador for him. There have been many other stories of his faithfulness in my life and they give me hope through any transition, big or small, that I must face. I hope they do the same for you. Remember no matter what, God is faithful.

2 comments:

suzanne snyder said...

awesome testimony. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Logan Ames said...

Thanks for reading it Suzanne and for your encouragement! God is always faithful even when we aren't, and I'm so thankful for how he has worked in my life!