Last time I told you how some well-meaning people in my church thought I’d accepted Christ as my savior. The pastor baptized me, not realizing I was clueless about my need for salvation.
After the worst five years of my life, I absolutely had to do something. By this time I understood the gospel. The question was, had I accepted it? Received salvation? I realized that if I hadn’t been saved back in the fourth grade, I would need to admit it to the church, and get baptized again. Everyone would know I’d been wrong. How embarrassing.
When I was a high school freshman, our church hired a new youth minister. This young man had the very approachable nickname “Scooter.” He preached one Sunday evening and told his own story about how he came to receive salvation. To my jaw-dropping astonishment, he had also been prematurely baptized when he was just a kid, and spent some years faking it.
Wait… I’m not the only goofball on the planet to make such a spectacular blunder?
Finally… all alone in my room, I mentally reviewed God’s plan of salvation*. I still remember every word of my big, dramatic prayer for salvation:
All the weight of guilt and fear I’d been lugging around for five years fell away. Peace and security flowed over me, through me.
The next Sunday, I marched to the front of the church as soon as the sermon ended. Later, the new pastor counseled with me. I got baptized. Again.
That was ages ago, but I’ve never forgotten those wretched years.
Recently, memories of that sweet Sunday School teacher came back to me. By now, she must have been in heaven for decades. I got to thinking: From her heavenly perspective, does she know she accidentally influenced me to get fake-baptized? I hope God didn’t tell her. If he did, I hope she doesn’t feel bad about that…
But then something else occurred to me. God is in control. Everything, even the unpleasant stuff, happens for a reason.
So what good could come out of those years I spent bluffing, hiding my fear?
I don’t claim to know all of God’s mind, but I do know I needed to learn not to bluff.
So God allowed it.
And I learned my lesson.
I believe that if Mrs. C. does remember me, and if she knows I wandered around for years miserably faking faith, then that knowledge doesn’t cause her distress. Because she also understands the purpose and knows the outcome.
Thanks, Mrs. C.!
And thank you for reading.
* Earlier, I wrote a more in-depth essay about the nature of salvation. You can find it here if you’re interested.