Monday, June 27, 2011

Simply God ~By Josh Hampton

My testimony is a simple one; no great revelations or ‘Hallelujah’ moments, just a life full of growth and loss.

Let me start by saying that I was born into a Christian home, went to church every Sunday, went to Sunday school and saw all the flannel-graph characters, and for a long time that was all they were to me. I didn’t understand that there was a personal relationship to be had; I only knew the stories and the verses… not the meaning behind it all.

My family ran into some tough times when I was young.  My father became an alcoholic, and while I didn’t understand all that it meant, I knew that it was destroying my family. I saw councilors, kept going to church but none of it felt fair. Then, when I was 10 or 11, my father died. His alcoholism caught up with him, despite almost a year of fighting to get healthy and stop drinking, the strain of getting clean caused a system shutdown; he was found dead in my grandparents’ house. I didn’t tell any of this for sympathy, but only to better explain what happened next.

In my anger and depression, I decided that there couldn’t possibly be a God… after all, what king of loving God would take a ten year olds father? What kind of a monster could deprive me of that?
In my wandering I set out, looking for other faiths & religions to bring me peace…I tried Buddhism, Shinto, Hinduism, I even looked into old Celtic Druidry… anything to make me feel more in control of my own destiny, anything to try and erase the memory of God…but it never felt right. My wandering always led me back to where I started, back to God.
I did most of my wandering in secret, since I knew my family wouldn’t approve, but when nothing worked, a long time friend invited me to join the youth group at Machias Community Church… I was still angry at God, but knew now that no other faith was real.  Through my time at Machias I have grown, both as a man and as a Christian.

I learned more in the last few years at Machias than in the decade before.  I am proud to say that now I know, I never was apart from God, I feel that he let me wander, knowing full well that I would come to the only conclusion that I could… He is God.  He is a truly Loving, Forgiving and Perfect God. I was nothing but the prodigal son; I wandered and returned, still loved.

Joshua Hampton and Laura Olsen,  Snohomish, Washington
Note from Ronda~
Sweet and simple, grace and mercy!  God supplies all our needs and he is a loving Father who is doing just as you said...he is with you, he loves you, and he is growing you.  I didn't get to know you all that well when I was there in Machias.  I am so grateful to read this testimony and that you were willing to share it.  Sometimes it doesn't feel like we have a lot to say, but it isn't about quantity of words, but quality of heart.  You got heart brother!  And I appreciate you sharing it today.
Your sister in Christ,

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