By WILLETTE MYRICK
Why socializing at revivals wasn’t wasted time
There are different stages and seasons of physical and spiritual growth. From the womb we enter into the infant stage, early childhood, middle childhood and adolescence, and from there, by God’s grace, we reach adulthood. For the believer, spiritual growth is somewhat similar.
I grew up in a small town in central Mississippi, the youngest of three siblings. As a teenager, I looked forward to attending the annual church revival. Friends and relatives came from far and near to attend the one-week event. These were fun times for me. I enjoyed wearing my new outfits and socializing with relatives and friends. After all, I was a teenager! And that is what most teens do.
One night during the revival, the evangelist made the altar call. My best friend approached the altar. Without giving it any thought, I approached the altar as well. Was God pounding on my heart telling me to go? No, I really don’t think so. I was doing what I saw my friend do. At the end of the revival, my friend and I were baptized.
Soon I entered a new stage of my life. I experienced college life, the death of both parents, marriage, and having children. Then I returned to college seeking a second degree, and also trying to raise a family while at the same time going through an abusive marriage, which ended in divorce. My life was in total chaos. Things were really tough, and somehow I knew I needed to pray, so I did.
Looking back, I truly believe I had begun to make progress toward spiritual maturity. I found myself seeking after the Word more than ever. I connected myself with a strong Bible-based church with strong leaders and strong believers. I enrolled in distance learning and online classes at Aenon Bible College and Aenon School of Theology. Thank God for allowing me the opportunity to be challenged and taken deeper in the Word. Through patience, study, meditation, faith and prayer, I can say without a doubt I accepted Jesus Christ as Lord of my life.
God’s desire is that we will follow Him. And in order to follow Him, we must know Him. John 10:27-28 serves as a perfect example: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” I found strength and comfort in the Word of God. I started an online prayer group with others like myself, and wrapped myself in the Word.
Now that I have accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, this season of my life with God has been amazing! It is so cool! I wouldn’t trade this life for anything in the world. This journey has by no means been easy. There have, and always will be, challenges — that’s life itself! There will always be battles to fight! It’s so comforting to know I don’t have to fight those battles anymore. I have taken up residence in the secret place of the Most High. In other words, I have made Him Lord of my life. Maintaining a relationship with Him is very crucial to me now.
Those years I spent socializing at the revivals and other church functions really paid off. I got introduced to “the real thing”! And “the real thing” is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. However, it was my choice to accept Him or reject Him. I am grateful to my parents for modeling Christianity and paving the way for us. It was not wasted energy.
My spiritual growth did not happen overnight. It has been a faith journey, and I am super excited about all that He has in the future for me and others that are willing to trust Him.
Willette Myrick is a retired secondary teacher from Carthage, Mississippi.