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Teenage Discovery Brings Faithful Awareness

A student poses with her awarded cross after the completion of her confirmation classes.
A student poses with her awarded cross after the completion of her confirmation classes.
Kristen Buonfiglio

“In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. Then Peter remembered and said to him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain “be taken up and thrown into the sea,” and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that you will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

‘Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses,’” Mark 11:20-25.

When you were in school, how often have you heard someone around you right before a test saying “I just know I’m going to fail this test. No matter how much I study I just can’t and won’t pass this test. Why bother?”

It’s not uncommon for us to have a negative attitude about something. It is also not uncommon for us to doubt not just ourselves, but other people, and even God. All three I have witnessed at some point in my life, and even experienced as well.

Doubting is a way of life. Even Jesus’s disciples doubted at some point during their lives. No one person can say that they have not doubted something in their lives at least once. I certainly know I have doubted many things growing up, especially during my Christian walk. I believe that it was a special object that I discovered during my doubting periods of God that made me start to believe and have faith.

Back in 2002, I was 15 years old. I was also not a Christian at that time, but in fact, agnostic, because I wasn't sure what to think about this God that all my Christian friends were telling me about.

I was so confused and lost one night after talking to my Christian friends about God, I demanded proof from them that he was real, and while they tried their best to explain the proof that they saw to me, I was still dissatisfied. Finally, one my friends pulled me aside and told me to pray to God for him to show me the proof that I was looking for. I had nothing to lose, so I thought “why not?”

So I prayed that night to God asking for proof of his existence. I was extremely doubtful that something would happen, and when I kept hearing just silence after asking for proof, I gave up and went to bed angry and still doubtful.

The next morning when I got up, I took care of my usual tactics I did in the morning every school day. It was the beginning of January and I can remember it being extremely cold outside when I stepped out my front door to catch the bus.

I got about a quarter of a ways down my driveway when I saw something lying on the blacktop. When I looked closer, I saw that it was a dried yellow flower in perfect condition. Not only that, when I picked it up and held it close to me, I smelled a sweet scent coming off of it.

I knew how cold it was outside, and I didn’t remember it being windy at all the night before. But I did remember the prayer I prayed the previous night asking for proof of God’s existence.

“Could this flower be a sign from God?” I wondered. Your guess is as good as mine. But I was shocked at what I was seeing and smelling.

Seeing the bus coming I took the flower down the end of my driveway, set it by a bush, and left for school.
During that whole day I couldn’t get that dried flower out of my mind. It was pretty windy outside that day also, so I figured, on the bus ride home, that the flower had blown away. But when I got off the bus that afternoon, I looked by the bush, and it was still in the same spot where I had left it that morning.

I felt the door to my heart open up as I became convinced that this flower was truly a sign from God, the same one I had asked for when I asked for proof of him the night before. Faith was taking its course within me.

Having faith in something, or someone, is essential in order to survive the things that are thrown at us each day.

Take the school test example; if we doubt ourselves that we will not do well on the test instead of being faithful and confident, we will do poorly. It is just a matter of how we perceive things and our attitude towards it.

The important thing to always remember is that God is always with us no matter what. If we need a helping hand, or some encouragement when doubt is near, all we have to do is ask.

Another thing to remember is that God doesn’t always grant us what we ask for right away. To this day I am uncertain as to why God went to the distance to give me this physical sign that I asked for, but I know that he will not always give us physical signs or give us exactly what we want. If we pray for a car for our sixteenth birthday, chances are he probably won’t give us that.

I still have the flower that God sent me, and it still gives off that same sweet sent as strongly as it did when I found it almost 12 years later. I find myself holding it whenever I am doubtful of God or myself or whatever the case may be. It helps give me faith that things will be okay and that God is always there for me when I need him.

So have faith, both in yourself and in the Lord; for the Lord is good, and since he was the one who created you and loves you more than anyone in the world, you must also be good as well.

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