My fourteen-year-old son renewed his baptismal vows this morning in the rite of confirmation. At our church, confirmands write a witness statement, about their faith. Here is Kurt's. I am very proud of him.
SO MANY QUESTIONS
by Kurt Grahnke
Everyone has asked themselves why God would allow some bad things to happen to them--death, illness, or just bad luck. I was told that it was all part of God’s plan for me.
I’ve asked these “why” questions more than ever over the last year. Why did my dad get Alzheimer’s disease, which led to his death last September? Is there a line between God and science?
A lot of my questions have been about what I can do in my future. A lot of teens, myself included, do not know what it is that they do best. God gave me the abilities to play basketball and volleyball very well, but I can’t rely on those things. He gave me intelligence, but I am not sure of which ways my brain operates the best. I would like to become a journalist, but I would also like to explore science and psychology.
We ask God to lead us in these confusing years. Most of us cannot find him immediately. So we start to ask questions about God and our faith. We are told to read scripture and pray to communicate with God, but with two basketball teams, school, and a girlfriend I have kinda left these things out of the picture at times.
I have witnessed falling short several times in my life. For instance, this year I was on the volleyball team and the basketball team. On both teams I helped lead my team to the State Tournament. I knew we were the most talented team there both times, and there was no doubt in my mind that we could win both tournaments. Well, in volleyball, we ended up losing a semi-final game that we had nearly won. In basketball, a smaller, less talented team crept up on us towards the end and beat us by two points.
I kept thinking to myself, why does it seem that I always fall short? Then I asked the question, “What is God trying to tell me?”
My bible verse, Hebrews 12:1 reads:
Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.
What is the race set before me and how will this race end? Well, I don’t know that now. There are so many questions yet to be answered, and some of my questions may never be answered.
I look at my dad. He lived a confusing life. He questioned lots of things, including God, when he was a teenager. As he developed his dementia, he seemed to find joy in coming to church and found comfort in the hymns. A person looks at his life and would think that he “fell short” and was unable to finish his race, because he had to stop working and stop doing other things he cared about. But when I think about this I think maybe he did not fall short -– maybe he did fill out God’s plan for him, even if that was not what he planned for himself.
My dad is a messenger and an inspiration to me. My mother sees a resemblance between me and my dad. We enjoy the same music and we both have this strong will about us.
So I use that will to run this race that is set before me. There are problems in my way, the “weight and sin that clings so closely.” But I am surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses that God has given me, so great a line of people willing to help me run the race. So let me lay aside the weight, the sin, and run the race.