I’ve been told by atheists that I believe in fairytales. I understand why some would think that. His story sounds like someone could have made it up. It sounds fantastical. Make-believe. Like something straight out of a story book.
Dead people coming alive. Blind people regaining sight. Entire oceans dividing so that thousands could walk right down the middle of the sea floor, to escape an angry, tyrannical pharaoh. A slithering, evil villain that prowls in the shadows. And a savior who lays down his life to bring us all to Happily Ever After.
I get it. It’s hard to believe, because we’ve been taught that such magic only exists between the spines of books and in the mouths of storytellers.
So why do I believe it all? Why would I trust in Something that has never revealed itself?
Because I feel it. I feel the truth. I feel Him all around me, all of the time. I know this answer is illogical and to some irrational. It doesn’t pass the tests of the scientific method. It doesn’t answer really any of our questions. And believe me, I have questions.
Like, why do bad things happen to good people? If God is perfect, why did he create such an imperfect species? Are all the stories in the Bible true, or are they metaphors? Why should I trust all of its authors? Is anyone listening to my prayers?
I wonder about these and so much more. But that’s the thing about Christianity. It is not built upon the questions it answers. In fact, it isn’t concerned with answers at all. Or logic, or rationality.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8-9
"Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?” -Job 11:7
“As you do not know the path of the wind,
or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
the Maker of all things.” Ecclesiastes 11:5
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” -Proverbs 19:21
So what’s the point? If I can’t understand something, why would I give my life over to it? This one I do have answer for. FAITH. That’s all that God asks of us. Well, and to ask forgiveness for our mistakes and to accept that His son gave his life so that all of these mistakes can be forgiven. And Love. He wants us to love.
I’m all for that. This world could use a little more love. It’s got quite a bit, but do you ever really have enough? After reading the New Testament, one finds the things that Jesus promotes. Equality, peace, gentleness, humility, courage, loyalty, kindness, selflessness, and love. A whole lotta love.
Yes, God shows His wrath in the Old Testament. There’s death, plagues, sickness, strict laws, and a ton of anger. While we can’t ignore these things, we also can’t let them define all of Him. The Old Testament displays God’s expectations and then his being broken-hearted by our falling short. Way short. And you know what, I don’t blame Him. We are His children. Imagine your children, your babies, growing up to be evil, crooked people. People who would come to disown you, deny being your offspring, and cause harm to innocents. I’d be pretty darn distraught, too.
But he gave us another chance. Well, He gave people a ton of chances, but the real second chance that He gave all of us was through His son’s death. His son was perfect in every way, yet He died for all of us who could never come close to that. God sacrificed perfection for a flawed, cracked, and broken humanity. For us! Like, what? That’s pretty unbelievably cool.
And then the New Testament happens, which is everything that comes after Jesus’ life here on Earth.
It’s tone is almost opposite that of the Old. If you find yourself discounting Christianity, do me a favor and suspend your judgment until you’ve read the New Testament through and through, word for word. And then study it, trying to see it from all sides. Try to see what is truly valued in this book.
If you read it as objectively as possible, you’ll find that it only promotes good, peaceful, loving things. It urges us to find the light, and then to go be that light.
Once again, how cool?! Yes, there’s some awful things in the Bible and some awful things happening in this very moment. I do not ignore them, but I also do not let them keep me from my faith. Because I do have faith. I have faith that there are things I don’t understand and never will, and that these things have reasons for which we couldn’t possibly fathom, simply because we are not put in a position to see them.
God calls us His children, and I can’t help but think of my own kids. Charlie gets so frustrated with me, because I don’t let her do a lot of things she wants to do. Like running toward the road, eating pennies, putting fingers in electrical sockets, or giving her chocolate every hour of the day. I try to tell her why she can’t do these things. She cries because she wants them and I won’t give them to her and she doesn’t understand why. To her, nothing is going her way. I try to explain, and even though she’s smart for her age of 20 months, she couldn’t possibly have any way of knowing why I say no. She doesn’t know what I know. That your body needs other nutrients besides a Hershey’s bar. That she could lose her life if she ran into the road at the wrong minute. She doesn’t get it, and she cries and screams at me.
But I pat her on the back because I know that my decisions are for the good. I wipe her tears away without saying a word, and soon she stands up straight and continues to blindly trust and follow me.
This is how I imagine us down here as His children.
But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." -Matthew 19:14
So like a child, I trust in Him. I accept that I don’t know things. As Socrates nicely puts it, “I understand that I do not understand.” And you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m okay with not knowing everything, or even anything. I’m okay with the uncertainty and the lack of logic and the absence of scientific proof. I don’t need it, nor do I really want it. What a relief it is to not know! To give away my desire for control, abandon my anxieties, and relinquish my worries all because I have faith that He has my best interest at heart and He is in control—not me.
Who needs proof if simply my belief is what gives me purpose and courage and hope. My belief in Him gets me through the hard days. It shines a light on my darkest nights when I didn’t think the Sun would ever rise. He centers me, redirecting me to a place of peacefulness and balance when I lose my grounding. He reminds me to stop and help those in need. He reminds me that despite all the evil and darkness, that there is still love.
He reminds me to be that love, because in the end love will win.
And I couldn’t think of anything better to live or die for other than something as beautiful and pure as love itself.