Reading through past blog posts, it’s quite clear that they’re intended for a Christian audience. Atheists and agnostics have never been the focus. This is a change for me as, throughout my past, I’ve lived amongst unbelievers and the undecided, so my persuasion was always towards convincing others that there is a God. However, I’ve been surrounded by fellow believers at this phase of life and, understandably, discussing theology has taken a different twist.
My son, who reads many of these posts, has asked that I write about why I believe in God. Although he is a young 9 years old, his faith has been continually nurtured in our home and has been challenged by enduring suffering that, for anyone, would be our worst nightmare. Having a stroke at 7 years old has ordered him to think through the intricacies of why God exists and what He is doing when He brings suffering upon His children. Undoubtedly, by the grace of God, he has been gifted with a mind that seeks answers to God’s purposes and is amazingly content when his questions aren’t answered. Faith like a child is one that we can almost envy.
I can remember when I was his age, about to turn 7, and I’d read a book about God creating the world and on the seventh day he rested. I picked 7 as my lucky number, supposedly because I liked to rest and that hasn’t changed. Neither of my parents talked about God during my upbringing, so I’m not certain where the book came from. A faith was already in me then and has never left, never wavered, never been questioned. Perhaps that same gift of faith is in my son, which I’m obviously grateful for as a Christian parent. That is the most foundational reason of why I believe; I always have, even though it couldn’t be articulated.
At 15, I had a part time job in a convalescent home where one of the nurses and an elderly patient talked with me about Jesus and I “accepted” Christ as my Savior during one of my shifts. I put accepted in quotes because now I realize it wasn’t a choice, it was God’s will that I would be a believer. There was still no discipleship or church attendance to support my faith, but at 16, I recall having “everything happens for a reason” written all over my school folders. Even then, that was my faith beginning to grow as I began to articulate the wonders of His sovereignty. A simplistic motto, yet profound, that I lived by and still hold to. Unanswered questions have never stifled my beliefs that there is a God and that each detail is under His command.
As the years passed, my undecided and unbelieving peers would ask how I could possibly believe in something that I couldn’t see and prodded me to prove He exists. In apologetics, Christians can claim the Bible as their source for answers, but when others don’t hold Scripture as their authority, that makes it difficult to utilize when persuading. The movie “Contact” provided a most excellent dialogue between two characters that explained away the need for proof. Actress Jodie Foster played a woman who’d lost her father whom she loved dearly, but was atheistic in her beliefs. She was confronted by a believing male who understood the love she claimed to have for her father and affirmed how real that love is, but then turned the tables and questioned her as to how she could prove that she loved him. She had no answer, except that it was real and it was love, though unseen and intangible. That, in a nutshell, is the love I have for my Father, though it and He is unseen, is so intensely real that it is tangible for me.
These experiential reasons for why I believe I give, without using the Bible as my source, because they’re the elementary evidence that can be produced for those who won’t look to the Scripture to find the answers to whether God exists. I could go on for eons citing Bible verses and empirical biblical evidence to doubters to prove that God is real, but that avenue may not be fruitful in sparking further intrigue into discovering the overwhelming knowledge of the presence of God. So, to use biblical proofs for proof can be futile, depending on the condition of the heart of the unbeliever at that point in time. However, when engaged in a conversation where you’re trying to convince another of the most important reality that exists, we can find the path lit up as we walk down it when we calmly claim the Truth of the Way and entertain questioners with the peace that it is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit that’ll flip on the light switch; our mouths, our words, our motives, and intentions are secondary. We can pray for them, witness to them, and give it our all in trying to convert them to Christianity, but we mustn’t be insulted or discouraged by the questions asked. God will accomplish His work regardless of our efforts and will use just the right methods at just the right time to show Himself to those who are destined to come to salvation in Him.
Why I believe, why you believe, or why any and all of God’s beloved believe is because He willed our belief. I cherish having the wisdom to see that fact. It provides me with the freedom God intends as evangelism finds its place. I have no worries as to whether my son will flourish in his faith because of this. I dearly desire for him to, but refuse to fret over it. After all, being brought up in a home void of discussions about Jesus Christ, God always had His hands on me and used the people and influences of His choosing to guide me. I’ll take every opportunity to strengthen my son’s dependence on the Bible, to discuss theology with him, to encourage him continually to pursue finding answers to his questions in the Bible first and foremost (as I will with anyone who’ll listen to me!); however, my trust is in God, not myself, to accomplish salvation for those He calls. This same trust can be had when trying to convert unbelievers and the undecided. Being raised in a Christian home doesn’t make you a Christian, nor does the most eloquent apologetics: Christ does.