Lenten Devotional: Early Brushes With Christianity by David Burns

Over this Lenten season, the Spiritual Formation team at First Presbyterian Church in Bend put a call out to all to submit writings for a Lenten Devotional. I will do my best to post those here daily. You can also go to our website and access all of the devotions on a pdf file.

Here is the next submission:

II Chronicles 15:4 But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.

Early Brushes With Christianity…

There’s been plenty of chaos in my life. Chaos, confusion, uncertain situations, and terrifying times. I was not raised in Christian homes and knew little of the Bible growing up.

I’d heard some Bible stories in Sunday School once when I was in second grade. Then when I was eight I was in an orphanage run by Catholics for a time. But mostly us non-Catholics were excluded from their religious doings.

And those were my early brushes with Christianity.

Brief as they were, something in those early encounters stuck, and struggled to grow. During the next few decades, in times of trouble, when in chaotic or confusing situations, in uncertain or scary moments, when I feared for my well-being or life, or for someone close to me, it was then that I’d struggle to recall those Christian messages…

When I was being whipped with a strap. When my foster father was pummeling my foster mother. When my father passed out at the wheel and we were in a head-on collision. When I was awakened in the middle of the night by his rifle firing in the next room. When I was in the Navy as a sonarman and our ship was in a collision at sea at night. Total darkness with sea water gushing in everywhere. In moments we were listing badly to port, in fact sinking.

It was times like these, and so many more, I found myself searching for something stable, something to hold on to. Something to cut through the madness, the confusion and uncertainty. Searching…like a sailor in ancient times looking at a dark, cloudy sky… searching for that one shining star to poke through the overcast and lead him home.

Eventually, after years of praying blindly, years of searching, I found that Star in Jesus. The messages of His Unconditional Love that was so long ago placed in my mind, my heart, my soul had helped me navigate through life. He was there for me then; He is here with me now.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for Your shining example, and for Your Word to guide us through good times and bad. Amen.

–David Burns


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