I’ve been a terrible blogger recently…slacking! And now I’m at the Montana Christian Festival this weekend and everyone keeps telling me how much they enjoy my blog. Alas, sorry friends!
Part of the reason for this, I’m sure, is that I’ve been going through a bit of a crisis of faith. Something that’s actually quite good for you in the long run, but maybe not something you feel like writing about while you’re in the throes of it.
I have quite a good friend who’s an agnostic. Within the last month or so it started moving toward “more than friends.” But he’s not Christian, has no deep yearning to know God as far as I can tell. Of course, you never know what the future holds, but I couldn’t justify it to myself to let things move forward on such a looming “MAYBE,” so I ended it before it could really get started. Which just broke my heart, cause he’s one of the good ones. It also made me seriously question some things.
I’ve definitely questioned my faith before, to varying degrees, but I’ve always been able to kind of wiggle out of doing the real work by going, “Well, I really wouldn’t change much of anything about my life even if I was wrong about God.” But now this. And if I were to get to the end and find out that I was wrong about it all…I’d have a regret. One big, looming regret. So ok then. It’s time to buckle down and put in some effort. Do I really believe all of this God stuff? All of this Jesus stuff?
It’s a rough question to actually face. To stare down. Cause if I’m wrong, welp. There goes my life. Everything I’ve built it on. Everything I’ve done and believed. Up in smoke. Bit of a panicky thought. But on the other side, there have always been some legitimate questions that have nagged me. And, of course, my friend had them all (plus about a zillion others I’d never even thought of). So I’ve begun the slow, gritty process of finding answers. Some of them have been as simple as conversations with God that illuminate things in an entirely new and beautiful perspective. Some have come with reading several apologetics books. Others are more difficult, still “I don’t know”s. My faith is getting (slowly) stronger, but I believe I’ve embarked on a lifelong process.
But my friend is still consistently in my thoughts, because he thinks a lot like me actually. Similar questions, similar disinclination to believe something unless it can be proved. I look at him and think, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” And that kills me. Am I only a Christian because I was born Christian? Whether or not it’s all true, I don’t like that thought. I want to know that I would have been able to come around even if I hadn’t had the benefit of growing up Christian. He’s exactly the kind of person I feel the most compassion for, because that’s totally who I am. And I want to be able to reach that kind of person. I want to have all the answers. I want the proof.
That’s the trouble isn’t it? Because the proof is never going to be such that everyone is convinced. After thinking and logic-ing and rationalizing I have come to the conclusion that I DO believe that the proof is convincing. I do believe that there is a God who loves me wildly. I do believe that Jesus His Son lived, died, AND WAS RAISED AGAIN for me. I believe that life is too precise and beautiful and intricate to be a fluke. I believe that thought defies explanation. I believe that the astronomical odds against ANY life being here, let alone life like HUMANS is are wayyyyyy too high to write off as chance. I believe the historical evidence for the resurrection is about as strong as a historical record can be. I believe that I can speak in tongues and that that is supernatural contact with God. I have been healed by Him and seen Him heal others. I know of many, many miracles He has performed. To me, the proof is undeniable. To someone else, hearing it second, third, fourth hand, based on a Bible they don’t believe in, presented by a biased source, it is less so. Frustrating.
But the real kicker is that logic can only get you so far anyway. In the end it’s not about logic and proof. Christianity isn’t about studying and debating and explaining God. Christianity, in its essence, is a relationship with Him. And all relationships require a little bit of a leap of faith. It’s called TRUST. And every healthy relationship is founded upon it. At some point in every relationship, you take what you know of the other person, decide that from that (which, really, is only what they’ve represented to you) that you can trust them not to hurt you too much. Decide that it’s worth having a relationship (of any kind, romantic, friendly, whatever) with them, even though you can’t be entirely sure where they’re at or where they’re coming from. But that trust is built over time. Most sane people don’t just decide to trust someone explicitly at the drop of a hat. They test the waters. They take a small risk and the person comes through. They take a slightly bigger risk and the person proves himself again. Trust is built. And it’s the same way in our relationship with God. He doesn’t shy away from our doubts and questions. He tells us, in fact, to “taste and see” His goodness. He invites us to “prove what is [His] good, and acceptable, and perfect will.” He’s eager to prove His trustworthiness to us. Literally all we have to do is ask. The logic comes in there. To get people to the point of believing in His existence enough to take the first risk and ask Him to start proving His trustworthiness. But the rest has to be based on a desire to know Him. He promises that if we seek Him we’ll find Him, if we ask we’ll receive, if we knock it will be opened. But we have to seek, ask, knock. Free will. It’s a doozy. What’s a girl to do? Pray I suppose. Pray for every soul out there who is wired to question everything just like me but wasn’t taught the Word from birth. Pray for myself, for my search leading me into deeper love and intimacy and confidence. Pray that my search and any answers I find will be able to help others in some way or another. And remember that with God all things are possible.
This post got a little rambly I think. Apologies. But it’s about a month of ponderings stuffed into one little (big) entry. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about this whole process in the future. (Hopefully it’ll be a bit more rationally written.) Love and blessings from Montana! A bientot!