I wrote A Reason To Believe not for its story, although I like stories, but rather for its capacity to inspire. In truth, I didn’t expect my story to inspire anyone, mainly because I believe it was meant to inspire me at a time when I had given up. Yet somehow, that story continues to inspire me, and now, I am told, that it inspires others as well.
I am both glad for that, and a little concerned. Glad to have been able to share one of my stories and allow people to see a part of my journey through my eyes. But concerned because for some, maybe this story inspires them because they believe they have nothing in their lives that is worthy of being inspiring. Maybe they do have something, but cannot recall it. Or maybe, they didn’t realize what an incredible lack of faith I had to have when this happened. This story isn’t the only such story I can tell. There are others.
You see, I have always believed that I was given these inspirations exactly because my faith was so weak. Surely someone with strong faith wouldn’t need to be reminded, would he? And surely, someone who told God to go to hell possibly requires a bit more evidence? After all, the healthy don’t need a doctor, do they?
At that moment in my life, I needed a lot more than a doctor. I needed something that was going to last, something I couldn’t make happen by myself, and something that someone else could verify, so that I didn’t end up believing I had made all of it up in my mind. You might think the chances of that are slim, but if you had known me before I met Christ, you’d know that my mindset would have eventually led me down that path. Putting it as lightly as I can, I think too much. I have been told this numerous times in my life, especially by other Christians.
In fact, Brett’s wife used to say it to me quite often. I work things around in my mind, never leaving them alone, constantly searching for the truth, and not being able to make sense of the things in my life. I question God a lot. I question His intelligence, I question His love. I question His presence, and I question His existence. Yes, even after the story I related to you, I still sometimes question His existence. Not for real long, though. Something usually happens fairly quickly to silence those questions for a good while.
Why am I writing this? Because it’s a part of who I am, and a part of the way I am. And all these parts of me, and all these experiences, have shaped how I view God and His love. I know deeply that any God who can be told to ‘eff’ off and still give me evidence of His presence must certainly love me beyond my capacity for understanding. And the lengths He goes to for me describe not only His love, but His veracity. I don’t believe He feels these things only for me.
But I do believe that my experiences with God are very unique. I believe that God does not deal with us only according to His own attributes, but to ours as well. That is why I have become a believer in salvation for all, even though I cannot pinpoint every bit of evidence for it. The evidence for me lies within God Himself, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, who, it is written, "takes away the sins of the world", without prejudice.
There are times I get upset with people who don’t believe. There are times I cannot believe they don’t believe. But most of the time, I find myself accepting it, even when I am forced to because none of my words or deeds give them a reason to believe. I believe God allows people to stray. He has allowed me to stray far more often than I care to tell. If anyone has blasphemed God more than me, I’d like to hear their story, because I would have to doubt it based on memory and experience alone.
All people everywhere wander from God. The story of the prodigal son isn’t the story of one man who ran off with his inheritance. It’s the story of the whole of mankind, and the father who rushes out to meet him is the God of all creation. So if He allows you to wander…heck, if He allows you to blaspheme Him and ignore Him, to deny His very existence, I know that someday you will understand why He simply won’t crush you, the bruised reed. He will neither extinguish you, nor turn you away. And all of this is your inheritance simply for being created. I do not know when you will know this, but I hope it’s soon, so you can celebrate His love and joy of you with me.