More from Gail Fritz

by Upper Room Editorial on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

My older brother, the one who went out on the pond as I mentioned in today's meditation, had a beautiful, carefree spirit about him. He lived life with joy and enthusiasm. I think he might have somehow sensed that he needed to squeeze every last ounce out of life. He died at 33 of a heart attack, just two years older than our father was when he died of a heart attack as well. I’m not sure my brother stepped into a church during his adult years other than to attend weddings and funerals, but he was a walking example of Christ-like behavior, especially in his kindness and generosity. He never met a stranger and made everyone feel welcomed and accepted.

Unlike my older brother, I have often approached opportunities with an overcautious and overthinking spirit. Hard to believe we came from the same parents! So it makes sense that my faith and trust in God isn’t as unbridled as I would like it to be.

Recently, however, I metaphorically took a risk and jumped into the deep end of the pond. Two years ago, at age 57, I enrolled in Duke Divinity School to quench my thirst for a deeper understanding God’s word. I was often in over my head and nearly drowned by all the information I had to absorb, but I will graduate this May with a Masters in Christian Studies. Certainly no one has to go to Divinity School to deepen their relationship with God, but it was part of my journey, my script.

Just this week I was reading about John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church. Many are familiar with how his heart was “strangely warmed” after hearing a reading on Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. It was after that experience that Wesley no longer doubted his own salvation. But what I found interesting is that Wesley had already been doing ministry for years when this conversion occurred. At one point he was sailing to the New World with a Moravian contingent to serve as a pastor in Georgia. When a terrific storm came up, threatening their lives, he was moved by the Moravians’ calmness and faith and began to doubt the depths of his own faith. Much later Wesley went to one of his Moravian friends, Peter Boehler, because he felt he should quit preaching because he lacked faith. Boehler advised him to preach until he had faith and after he got it to keep preaching because of it. He did, and on May 24, 1738 he had the experience that changed his life.

Even John Wesley doubted his faith! This story is very reassuring to me. I imagine, like me, Wesley wanted to have surefooted, unabashed faith, but God met both of us where we were in our own journeys and guided us to where we wanted and needed to be, even if it was through a long and circuitous route. And that is precisely the kind of loving, patient, and persistent God we can all put our faith and hope in!

- Gail Fritz

9 Comments

Comment by Georgine

Thank you Gail. I know how you feel. Even if I accepted Christ as my Saviour when I was about 16 years of age throughout my Christian life I have always had periods of doubting and coming through them. If you are very reflective like we are it is difficult not to do so.
Georgine, Arqua Petrarca, Italy

Posted April 11, 2017 at 12:34AM CDT
Comment by Edd of Ocala, FL

Gail, God always waits and pushes us to where we are needed even if we don't realize it. God is Love for All!!!

Posted April 11, 2017 at 06:19AM CDT
Comment by John of Littleton, MA

Gail; Thank you for sharing your journey and the path you are taking. All the way from a remote ice pond with your siblings until today, God has been with you! I am on a similar journey and our words are encouraging. Congratulations on your upcoming celebration!

Posted April 11, 2017 at 06:34AM CDT
Comment by Jay of Clearwater, FL

Gail,
Have you noticed everyone seems to have moments, and times when their faith diminishes only to recover its strength in time ? Faith is the intensity of Love/Light.
My faith is like a candle flame that flickers or an ocean wave that rises and falls. God made us this way. Lord, you are the brilliance of all the universe. Thank you for
giving us Life.
O'Jay, flickering on my journry

Posted April 11, 2017 at 06:41AM CDT
Comment by patricia of laurelton, NY

Thank you Gail sharing your experience with us. I have trouble with my faith sometimes, but I strive on. I pray to live by the advice of the Moravian, to keep going till I have faith and when I have faith to keep going because of it. I read about this experience of Wesley's this Lenten season in a book we studied in my church "What are we fighting for?" By Thomas J Bickerton (Bishop of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Pg42-43..May the Lord continue to to richly bless you. 😇😇😇😇😇

Posted April 11, 2017 at 07:19AM CDT
Comment by Clarence of Fort Worth, TX

Gail, congratulations on your dedication and leap of faith to pursue your degree and your accomplishment!! Even reading about John Wesley and his encounter that changed him forever should cement everyone's faith and trust in God that we all can be used for His kingdom agenda purpose.

Posted April 11, 2017 at 09:23AM CDT
Comment by Donnie of Royston, GA

Thank you, Gail—it is very encouraging to be reminded that faith is a journey.

Posted April 11, 2017 at 10:43AM CDT
Comment by Charlie of Powhatan, VA

Gail, thank you for your wonderful devotion this morning. My problem is I not only will doubt, but will go through periods where I drift away from my faith. This ends up causing major problems in my life such as I am undergoing right now. So I thank you for your kind reminder that many go through the same thing, doubting, wondering away and returning like the Prodigal Son.

Posted April 11, 2017 at 11:52AM CDT
Comment by Richard

Gail what honest insight, presented in well thought out manner. Congratulations on your degree! It shows!....so wonderful to study the great Followers of our Faith, their application, and their journey. Putting your "More" in my phone! In CHRIST, Richard, Marietta, GA

Posted April 11, 2017 at 12:05PM CDT