An Agnostic Discovers What’s Missing in His Life
Spiritually speaking, I was lost, full of doubt, and just generally uneasy about my life. I had always considered myself to be an agnostic but had a sense, from time to time, that something was missing.
When my high school friend Keith died, I just didn’t know what to do. The anger I felt for the “injustice” of his death caused a dark change in me. I got angry at God and shut that door. Not only did I close off to all religion, but I became actively hostile to the very idea of organized religion or those who espouse its virtues.
The death of my mother, some 24 years later, did nothing to help this. Her death only led to more anger at God for taking somebody who meant so much to me. My suffering through bouts of depression and anxiety disorder left me drained and exhausted at times. I was broken! After the death of my father, I felt more alone than ever before. To now be the patriarch of my family caused me great consternation, deep introspection, and a yearning for something unfulfilled in my life.
Simultaneously, unbeknown to me, God put a new friend, Bryan Goebert, right in front of me. I knew Bryan for six months before I knew he was a pastor. God knew that because of my stubborn nature and hostility to religion, it would take a special man, as well as the prompting of the Holy Spirit, to soften my heart. Because of my great respect for Bryan and the life he lives, I requested a meeting with him. We had a great conversation covering lots of things great and small.
After that meeting I was prompted to read the Bible and as I read it, I craved more. We began meeting on a regular basis as Bryan led me through a study using The Story of Hope. Having not grown up in church, I had never read any part of the Bible and wouldn’t have known where to start. But the way The Story of Hope is organized, it gave me a clear template for how to understand the baseline message of the Bible.
Every week we would discuss one or two Bible events and I would prepare by reading the Bible passages and answering the questions at home. The bullet points in the lessons, and the scripture verses, are direct and poignant in a way that makes it possible for someone who is new to the Bible to digest the pertinent content and not be overwhelmed. As we progressed through the study, the Holy Spirit began to work more and more in my life. I began to understand God’s message—the true story of Jesus and the reason for His sacrificial death and resurrection.
I couldn’t believe that I was studying the Bible and learning things I had never known, as well as unlearning some things I thought were true. With every meeting, I became more and more immersed in God’s Word. Then I began to study the Bible on my own, even though I had not cracked a book for more than 20 years. But here I found myself, several mornings each week, doing my Bible studies.
After several weeks and lessons, I was prompted to pray. But because I had never done that, I asked Bryan to teach me how to pray. Bryan told me that there was no “right” or “set” way to pray—just express to God what was on my heart. I told him I would do that, but later.
Bryan asked, “Why not now?” I replied, “Because I’m nervous and self-conscious.” Bryan said, “Go ahead and try anyway.”
I prayed. I wept. I had such a heavy heart because of my shame for the way I had spoken of and treated God. As I prayed, I could feel my heart get lighter, as if a weight had been lifted of it. Even as I write these words, it seems surreal. Forty-two years of banging my head against a wall and now I am saved. I am now a child of God!
It has been two weeks since my spiritual breakthrough. It wasn’t a magic pill—all my problems are still my problems. But, my life’s purpose has been renewed. The more I learn, the more excited I get. I feel renewed at the end of every Bible study and end up digressing in a lot of different inspiring directions. I’m so humbled that the Lord would see fit to put the people in my life to help me be where I now am in my spiritual journey.
I highly recommend The Story of Hope for anyone trying to learn the message of the Bible. We are now studying through The Way to Joy and I’m memorizing the Bible verses for each lesson, as well as the verses that go with the Chronological Bridge to Life. These books have had a profound effect on my life!
Now I plan to start leading my children through a study in The Story of Hope.
The Story of Hope is an evangelistic Bible study workbook designed to help people who are open to dialogue at the investigative questions and core beliefs levels. And the FREE downloadable Leader’s Guide for The Story of Hope will guide you in the process of knowing how to evangelize unbelievers based upon a chronological Bible study of God’s overall redemptive story.