I want to invite you to go on a journey with me, to stop for a moment and look at what you believe. Take it apart piece by piece and start throwing out the crap that society and even modern Christianity try to put in that don’t belong, some of it is good and makes sense, some of this is very-very hard, but still needs to be done if we are going to get anywhere beyond where we have already been.
Here are the 8 most important lessons I have learned that led me to believe with all that I am that God is real.
1. I used to look for proof of the existence of God through miracles and things that didn’t make sense in the natural order of the world, now I realize that the infinite beauty in science and physics, and the blood pumping through my veins in this container that holds my soul are all the proof I need to see that someone is behind all this. No way that this all just happened, God the creator is very real, he is beautiful, and most importantly there. (Yes, I am a skeptic too, someone who asks the question “Is this all for real?” often.)
2. I believed for a long time that I was supposed to help others because I would get some sort of extra bonus heaven points from God (points I could cash in on earth), now I find that I want to do things for others as a way of giving back to God for the gift He gave me by forgiving me and not giving me what I deserve.
3. I spent much of my life thinking that I was one of the sharper tools in “Gods shed” that he could pull out and use when he had extra special tasks that needed someone amazing to do them. Now I realize that Jesus came for the sinners, when he walked this earth, he went straight down to the bottom rung, was born in a barn to a family that was nothing even close to special, and that even today he does not implement a top down strategy to spread the gospel, he is not trying to “influence the influencers”, he is the guy sitting under the overpass with the lonely smelly homeless dude lovingly explaining to him how God’s redemption takes away the power over him that all the crap that this world has heaped on him since he was a child.
4. I used to think that God favored Christians but now I realize that we all live on this earth with just the same chances of earthly success and failure as someone who goes through his day declaring that God does not exist. Furthermore I am okay with that, I have found that I don’t want to have anything to do with a faith based on only claims of little blessings from heaven, I want to live my life for the massive, beyond-all-comprehension-creator, and whatever he wants for me is what I want for myself, come good, bad or just plain ugly.
5. I used to think that I understood God’s plans, or that at least I could look back on recent events and see what God was up to, now I realize that I can’t even begin to grasp the tiniest fraction of a percent of what he is doing, and that in the big scheme of his whole plans, this world isn’t even a blip on that radar screen. The best example I can give you is that of a family who has lost a child and later is told by their friends that God was working through her death by the many beautiful things have happened through all the community coming together after her death… You get my point here? If I was that parent I wouldn’t care what happened after, I just want my daughter back. We don’t know what God was planning, we can be thankful for the beauty of our community coming together, but its dangerous for us to claim that God did this or that for one reason or another. I am not God, and I don’t know what he is planning, and I promise to stop pretending that I do.
6. I used to see people on the side of the road outside my window in Ethiopia begging because of some horrific accident that left them maimed since childhood and think that this was evidence of a society that turned away from God. Now I see that bad things happen to everyone, and that this does not mean that God does not love this person, or that he has turned away from his society. I realize now that I was put here to do something about that guy.
7. I used to sit an wait for God to tell me what to do, thinking that before I took the next step there should be a lightning sign from heaven that would come down and tell me what the next step in my life should be, now I realize that God asked me to spend my life constantly learning about him, and about his wisdom, and then I need to apply what I have learned in my choices for what to do in life. Opportunities will come along for all of us, no matter who we are or what we believe, our responsibility is to know God’s code and teachings well enough to be able to make the choice to step into things that will be productive and will point others to Him. (Not that lightning signs from heaven are never a way that God speaks to us, the bible is full of miraculous examples of God coming down, I just have not in my life experienced this as the way that God shows me things.)
8. I used to look all around me for examples of Gods hand on earth, but I now realize that the most evidence I will ever see is lying next to me in my bed each night. When I look at my marriage to Jessie, at the incredible highs and terrible lows, at the love that we share and the strength of the bond that is between us, I see a script written in heaven. No I am not trying to say that every one person has only one other person who they belong with, although if that were true Jessie would be the best most created-to-fit with me like a puzzle. What I am saying is that the act of relating to another, the dance of marriage, and the beauty of waking each day ready to take on the world with your hand grasped around the person you love, that to me is proof of Gods creativity and love for us. We were made, this didn’t happen on accident, and when I look at the love me and my wife share I see beauty that isn’t of this earth, a tiny glimpse of heaven. We were made for each other, we humans were created to share life with another, and when we give our all to that love, when we break open our hearts and let another person in, we somehow become more than we could ever be on our own.
These are the things that make me want to fall on my knees and worship the great and wonderful creator in heaven who made all that we see and who calls us to something so much greater than a life lived for ones self. Are you with me? Do you want to live your life sold out for him? Let’s do this, lets show hope to the world through our love for Him.
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