Sunday at church, we witnessed a baptism. I really enjoy witnessing these events. There’s a great joy that I think (and hope) overtakes those in attendance. For me, witnessing someone else publicly accept Christ reminds me of why I did the same thing.
This particular baptism sparked some personal reflecting. The person being baptized has some sort of health problem that necessitates her walking with a cane. I’ve no idea what kind of disease or illness she has, but, it’s quite obvious from observation, it’s taken a great toll on her body, and perhaps her mental health. Not that she’s wacko, mind you, but I’m sure there are self-esteem issues that come with your body betraying you. Also, these are strictly observations and not necessarily fact. I’ve never had a conversation with this person. But, I can tell she is strong.
As I watched her video story, she spoke of form prayers and going through the motions and not understanding why or what they meant. It reminded me of my own memories of Catholicism. Then, I’m not sure what she said, but it made me think, “You know, if I was watching this as few as two or three years ago, I would have thought she was a fool.” Work with me here for a minute…
My coming to Christ happened rather recently. Next month will mark a year since I was baptized. It was a conscious decision I made to follow Christ. Since then, I’ve had to change a lot about myself and my thinking. You cannot accept Christ without changing part of who you are.
But before I made that decision, I would have thought this girl was foolish to think that being baptized will help heal her. As if the water poured over her had magical medicinal healing powers. “Let go thy cane, walk-ah and-duh be HEAALLLEEDDD-DUH, Siiissstaaaahhh! Praise Jesus.” “Girl, you can’t get take the JC Iced Tea Plunge and be cured.” Two years ago, this is what I would have thought. What a fool I was (am).
I’m not saying that God can’t heal her physical ailments. Just as sure as you’re reading this, God can wiggle his fingers (I like to imagine that’s how He goes God-work) and heal what ails her. What I’m saying is God has already helped her. He’s given her the strength to get through the pain and hardships. And, I imagine that makes quite a difference in her walk.
It’s good to be reminded about who I was and who I am. It helps me see the progress I have made on my own walk. It helps me to remain humble and thankful for the blessings God has granted me. And, perhaps more importantly, it helps me to relate my own spiritual journey to those who have yet to take a step.
I’m godfather to three beautiful children and I love them very much. I attended their baptisms and did the whole ceremony, “Do you promise… I do.” All three baptisms happened before I came to know and really understand God’s love. Now that I get it, I wish I could have a do-over with regards to their baptism ceremonies. Somehow, it would mean more, at least to me.