Six years have passed, yet that day in Virginia remains the most important turning point in my life. From that meeting, I set out on a new path of discovering who God is and what matters most to him.
In my old theology, God was mechanical, preprogrammed by a cosmic blueprint of his own creation, ticking through his sovereign acts like clockwork.
But he is not like that. He is my father. He loves to have me walking by his side, listening as he shares his heart with me. I feel his affection, not just for me, but for everyone we pass. He wants me to be just like him. To feel the same compassion for someone who is hurting. To show mercy like he does. To share his sorrow at the evil we have wrought. To dream with him of the day he will make it all new again. I admire him. I want to be like him.
Many things have changed as we have walked the path together. His mercy and patience and gentleness and understanding are growing in my heart, and they are beginning to produce fruit in my behavior and in my relationships with my family, friends and strangers. Life is so much more peaceful and hopeful than it was just a few years ago.
But I do not always stay on the path with him. I am often drawn aside by self-pity, doubt, fear, anger, and shame. When I look away and I cannot see his face, I begin to think the old way again. Since Virginia, there have been days, and weeks and months that I have forgotten, and walked in depression and anger. But one thing is different now. I know deep inside that it will be better back home. So eventually, I get up and return to my father. He is always waiting and I run into his embrace once again.