Sometimes I ask myself the question, “Why do I believe in God?” I have doubts like everyone else, but I always come back to one simple reason. Here is my journal entry from this Easter Sunday morning. I decided I wanted to share it with you.
He is risen… he is risen indeed!
I woke up earlier this morning and felt the presence of Abba.
So much confusion in my life, so many things I do not understand, so many centuries and even millennia of speculation and prophets defining who God is.
Who is God? Is he real? Questions I ponder as often as anyone else.
Why do I believe in God?
In answer to that question I’ve always felt I needed a lot of supporting data. I needed to build a case. What proof did I have beyond the Bible itself? Some people spend a good part of their lives getting degrees in theology because they are searching for answers, and too often, they get degreed, but with more doubts and sometimes unbelief than when they started.
I’m probably like most other people. In the dark of night when it is time to reconcile my life accounts I wonder if I really know Him. I wonder why he does what he does, doesn’t do what he doesn’t do. I wonder why he supposedly directs us to pray, and then does what he wills any way. I wonder if what I know about him is true, or not.
When life is tied up in a neat little package, everyone is healthy, somehow all the bills are met, it is easy to believe in a benevolent God. A God who has a wonderful plan for my life and I’m living it out. When the storms rise in our lives, and I don’t mean normal storms where octogenarians who have lived a good life finally die of something, but the storms that aren’t right. The storms that go against the nature of things, the storms that leave our lives wrecked. When we weather storms, we have questions, legitimate questions.
On this Easter Sunday morning of 2017, I lay in bed feeling the Presence of God. Not understanding everything, but pondering, “why do I believe in God?”
It’s not because the scientific evidence proves the existence of a God. How can you really scientifically prove something and someone who’s dwelling is in the realm of the unseen? I know there are scientists who have what they feel to be empirical evidence of the existence of God, and I don’t doubt them, because I do not believe any empirical evidence exists to disprove God. But that’s not why I believe in God.
It’s not because of the case built by theologians over centuries. Intellectually, others may need to examine theological works, nuances of original languages, and understand theological systems before they will allow themselves to intellectually believe. That’s not me. I am so very thankful for the theologians who’ve brought clarity to God’s revelation through scripture. I’ve benefitted much from them. I’ve learned much from them. I am very thankful for them. They help me understand, but that’s not why I believe in God.
I understand the messy story of the assemblage of the Canon of Scripture. It shook my faith a bit as a bible college freshman. I understand the stupidity of some of the early church “fathers” and how “religion” stripped the essence of the reality of God’s relationship with us from the practice of Christianity. I am troubled by how the Roman Christians did, have, and continue to mimic the ancient Romans in erecting statues to their religious/god heroes. Study of some of the ugly realities of what men made of faith have shaken me in times past. But those things have little influence on why I believe in God.
I am not a scientists, I am not religious, I am not a theologian.
So, why do I believe in God, a God revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ?
It’s because I am a broken man who lays in the darkness and asks questions, and while answers don’t always come, I am comforted by the unseen Presence of the person of God.
It’s because when I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, He was with me.
It’s because when I was angrier than I’d ever been in my life, and hurt more than I’d ever hurt, His unseen and yet very real arms wrapped around me and demonstrated a love I’d never known before.
It’s because I know Him. I know Him. He is as real to me as was my Dad when he was still alive. Call me foolish, I can’t help what anyone thinks of me, but God is real to me. I call Him Abba (Romans [8:15]), because He is my Father. He was revealed to me by the Spirit of Christ. This is orthodox Christianity, but orthodox or not… He is as real to me as the sunrise, as my children, as my parents, and as anything in the realm of the seen (2 Corinthians [4:18]).
I respect facts. I respect science. I respect theology. Intellectually I will continue to grow in all of these areas, but I cannot deny real encounters. Very real encounters.
Further, I don’t think anyone has this whole thing tied up with a neat little bow. I am thankful for solid doctrine and theology, but some of our dogma is limiting and keeps us from coming into the fullness of the revelation that God wants to give because in some ways we’ve systematized God in such a way that when he acts in a manner outside of our dogmatic constrictions, we ignore and dismiss His activity. I don’t want to do that.
I believe that God leads us into truth. We don’t always get it right. Intellectually, we may struggle with the hands of many men and women shaping our understanding of God over millennia, but He leads us into truth and he preserves from generation to generation the revelation and the relationship.
This morning I understood something on a deeper level than ever before through a simple revelation from the heartbeat of the Father. He revealed Himself once again as “I Am”. Just “I Am”.
I believe in God because He Is.
I don’t mind discussing God from an intellectual standpoint, but if I do I will say, “I don’t know” a lot. I’ve found a path to God. I don’t like the path but I embrace it. I would like for there to be options, but there aren’t. The path is one of self-denial, crucifixion, death to self. He is the I Am and I will find myself alive in Him. The more I let go of self the more I know Him. Yeah, I know, sounds brain-washy and not like a lot of fun. It is Christianity — nothing more, nothing less.
Letting go of self means sometimes not being satisfied with all of the answers.
Letting go of self sometimes means we don’t like what we hear, where we are going, or what life is becoming. But letting self die gives way for the resurrection life of Christ to be experienced.
In Christ, to me, the world is brighter, colors are more vivid, I have a peace that transcends understanding, I’ve discovered that self leads to depression and destruction, but the way of the Father leads to life, real life.
So, that’s why I believe in God. Because he is alive in me. I know Him.