Growing up in the church, as a young child I would watch my parents stand up for the Lord’s Supper. Many times I and the other kids at the time, would watch in envy, as they were able to eat and drink, we couldn’t. On the hot days they had their feet washed to cool down, on cold days they used warm water to warm up, we didn’t. Not until we were a little older did we completely understand the true importance and sacredness of the Lord’s Supper.
During the years of growing up in the church, many times I thought ‘Yes, one day that will be me standing, partaking in the ordinance service’. As we mature and leave school behind, work and money becomes a main focus of our attention, our social circles change, time seems short as we run to and fro trying to achieve great things. Many times worship is forgotten, sleep seems too important.
Work opportunities drew me away from home to an environment that seemed exciting and new, which it was, but on the other hand it was pulling me backwards. Further and further away the thought of baptism went. Why would I tie myself down to rules and regulations – there are far more exciting things happening in the outside world.
Finally the time came when I had to make a decision. Anyone who knows me well enough would understand when I say that I can’t make up my mind to save myself. Decisions are the one of many things I just can not do. In the back of my mind there were always questions, concerns… what ifs. For instance:
- What if I was to find Mr. Right, I was baptised but he wasn’t?
- What if I wasn’t baptised but Mr. Right was?
- What if down the track I fall away from the church?
- What if I’m supposed to be doing something different in my life?
- What if my friends look down on me, will my social life be harder?
- What if…
Time and time again these thoughts would enter my mind. Over and over, what if? I didn’t want to let myself down, I didn’t want to let my parents down, but mostly I didn’t want to let the Lord down.
Finally the time came to make a stand, either I fall away completely or step up to the mark. To be baptised or not. Even after I decided to be baptised, I still had concerns and thoughts of what if, but the difference this time was direction. For once in a long time I had direction and a purpose. As I went through the studies with Bro. Peter L., Bro. Geoff M. and others, I started to have a clearer understanding and knowledge of the truth and our Heavenly Father. Yes there were tears along the way, times when I considered stopping, but I persevered – trust me it was worth it.
With one phone call, when all the studies were complete, the date was set for my baptism. Seeing that our little church group has few members, most of them were due to be away for the weekend but thankfully their plans were changed and most of my family and friends were able to witness this special day.
Yes, the water was cold, but as Bro. Peter assured me, once entering the watery grave, on my return from it I was filled with a warm glow and feeling that overwhelmed me. In that instance I had left my old life behind and had a new life ahead of me.
Right there on the banks of the little river, dripping wet, my “what ifs” melted away. My mind was clearer and I had a greater understanding of the little errors I had been making.
No longer do I wait to make a choice when it comes to a matter of faith. My little concerns about the future have left me. I have faith and trust in the Lord that He will direct me along whatever path I should take. My greatest feeling now is this – I don’t know what tomorrow brings. I don’t know who I will meet tomorrow. I don’t know where or what I will be doing in the future, but what I do now know is this – on the 25th October 2008 I took a stand for my faith. I put away concerns and made a decision. I don’t know what the future holds, but at least I have a direction, by laying my life in God’s hands to do with it what He will.
No longer does religion come across as rules and regulations, but instead it brings life and structure, purpose.
It is my prayer that more of the youth, adults, mothers, fathers, children etc. will take a stand for the Lord and profess their faith. Don’t put it off or delay such a wonderful feeling of fulfilment. Worry about tomorrow when it comes. Trust that the Lord will lead each one of us down our paths in this world of uncertainty.
When you are next asked about baptism, I pray that you will give it much thought and be standing at the next Lord’s Supper along with your family, friends and Brothers and Sisters in our Lord’s family, receiving energy and much needed fire to burn in our hearts.
Don’t be afraid of where the Lord sends you for “Wherever in His providence God has placed you, He will keep you. ‘As thy days, so shall thy strength be.’ Deuteronomy 33:25.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 258
“All that will come are to be brought into the fold. In their lives there is to take place a reformation that will constitute them members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. By hearing the message of truth, men and women are led to accept the Sabbath and to unite with the church by baptism. They are to bear God’s sign by observing the Sabbath of creation. They are to know for themselves that obedience to God’s commandments means eternal life.” Counsels on Health, p. 355-356