Faith and Doubt

Faith has always been a part of my life. The faith of my youth was forged by my Lutheran parents’ pastor, Reverend Schartt. Focused on hellfire and brimstone, he convinced me I could never please the God he preached about. Ironically he also taught me the cornerstone of Martin Luther’s Reformation, Grace.

I set my faith aside for the four years it took me to earn a college degree. Only after I met Pastor Ron Mohr (the husband of a fellow teacher) did I realized how much I’d missed God. Ron preached humility, love, and forgiveness. With my newfound faith, I served on church council. I did evangelism, Christian education, and foot washing; set up chairs in the sanctuary; led services and preached. Redeemer Lutheran was where I met Pamela, my loving wife and faith partner of forty years. When Ron left to serve another congregation, I floundered.

Three events cemented my faith. The first was a miracle: the cure for our daughter’s fatal cancer diagnosis. Dr. Siebold told us she would die if nothing was done. He gave her a lethal dose of radiation to stop the cancer’s spread. We prayed a lot. A benevolent God answered our prayers, and she lived.

The second event was a trip to Zacapa, Guatemala, where I met Mayan Christians who lived their faith daily despite poverty, prejudice, natural disasters, and oppression. God lived and breathed in these people, and in Pastor Pilar their leader. I finally understood Christ’s ministry among the poor.

The third event was my heart attack. When it struck I was on a gurney in the Genesis ER. Pamela was in the hall watching. A fist squeezed my heart and a searing pain paralyzed me. I thought, “This could kill me.” Then I saw the tunnel people talk about and the light at the end. Suddenly I was at peace. I realized I had nothing to fear from death. At that moment, I chose to live.

I make that same choice to live every day now, knowing God is always with me.






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