(So that former post was getting super long…but I had more to say…so I thought I’d divide it into 2 parts)
I spent the rest of the day thinking about Amber. Thinking about what I hope I can say to her someday when God nudges me to do so…Its really hard to say why you believe..or how…so easy to get caught up in being intellectual or spitting up what someone else instructed us to say…
But this is why I believe;
I believe in God in large part because of a cool breeze on a hot summer day at Camp Union when I was about ten. We had a speaker come in who told us we could ask God for a physical sign that He existed. Before that night, I had just always believed without questioning. But I began to wonder if I could really ask and get God’s full attention. Which led me to the question, if I couldn’t, was He real? or good? So the next morning I woke up earlier than everyone and headed down to where the camp fire was little more than smoldering ashes. It was one of those sticky hot, miserable Ohio summers. We were in the middle of a daught and the counelors were scrambling to keep us wet. Early on this morning the sun was already baking me and sweat was on the surface of my skin. I sat on a wooden bench and wondered (probably out loud-I do that) about God. At some point, I found the courage to ask. “God, show me you are real- give me a sign” THe words had barely left my lips when out of seeming nowhere, a cool light breeze danced along the corn stalks and made its way to my face. I had THAT feeling where every hair raises on your body and you feel like your insides are a flutter. Tears squirted from my eyes. Adn then as quickly as it came, it was gone.
Sure there are lots of explanations for that. Breezes (although few and far between that summer) are not exactly unique or rare. I have even wanted to explain that away myself a few times, but when I close my eyes and remember…I just know.
So largely I believe in God because of a breeze on a hot summer day. I believe in God because of the feeling that looking at the mountains from an airplane affords me or from the smell of the ocean or from starring up at the stars. Sometimes I know there is a God because of the compassion that rises up in me when people hurt or the desire to live for something better. I believe in God when I feel my heart let go of an offense. Sometimes just a mere flicker of hope strengthens my belief. Pain and woundedness and hurt make me believe in God. Especially the feeling right after a long, hard, desperate cry when I have the calming sense that maybe someone was listening in. I believe in God when I get choked up at the touching stories Oprah shares and something in me miraculously connects to something in another person. I believe in God because of beautiful paintings and orchestras and great literature. I believe in God because of the adrenaline after a hard run and the moving that a good movie can bring.
But mostly I believe in God because of childhood. Jesus said ‘unless you can become like a child, you cannot enter the kingdom’. There’s something about being a child that makes everything so easy. I am convinced that there are true things you can know as a child without any evidence other than what’s in you ….things that we explain away as adults. I think its kind of like our capacity for wonder and faith degrade over time as knowledge and facts fill our heads. But when you are a child, your only reference is yourself and what is planted in you. That’s why children are often the best judges of character, why although they don’t know words they can sense tension in their parents, that’s why children have no qualms about believing in God. Of course children believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, right? True, but we only disbelieve in those things because we have come to the conclusion that this is the world and this is how it works and that doesn’t fit. Children have the luxury of not knowing those rules.
So when I remember being a child, I remember seeing angels in the bedroom and I remember that God was my friend and that He loves me and I can FEEL how true it is. More true than anything else I know. It resonates in me…
Sure its not intellectual. I don’t care. Sure I am not proving it from the Bible or quoting “The Case for Faith” (which I am not dogging- good book)…but its real. Its not flaky. Its honest. For so many years of my life I have tried to share my faith by putting it out there in a logical, ordered irrefutable manner and I deeply regret that now. What does irrefutable evidence mean to someone who is desperate? Is it worthwhile? Or deep down do we really want to be able to look another person in the face, without faltering, and connect to what they know and experience?
I choose the latter. The people who were with Jesus were witnesses because they had seen and heard and touched and smelled and ate with Him. Adn it was convincing not because they were well read scholars (most were not) be because they loved and knew Him.
That is when the Kingdom is fucntioning, friends. BE looking for it