What really surprised me is how often he talked about his love. I hadn't expected that. In my mind, I was simply acknowledging God's existence. I had no expectations of him, but as I read the Bible, he chose to communicate his love to me. That was a surprise.
Now, my basic, skeptical nature was still there. The first few months or year, I would ask myself, "Am I really believing in God? And, why am I? So my "faith" in God did not rest on feelings, but on facts, on reasons. To me, it's like the foundation of a building. It's like someone driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. They can feel whatever they'd like about the bridge. In the same way, the objective reality of God--the logical, historical, scientific reasons to believe in his existence, are important to me. There are people who don't seem to need that. But I hate being fooled, and I have little regard for wishful thinking.
The substantiating reasons for God's existence mattered to me. Since that time, now that I've been a Christian for a number of yearswhy do I now believe in God? What reasons do I have for continuing to believe in God? I'm not sure any of these are going to be believable to you. But I'll try to put that concern aside and be candid with you.
Previously my questions were about God's existence.
After beginning a relationship with God, I saw additional evidence that God is real. Such as When I have questions, concerns, or would like insight on a matter, God speaks to me through the Bible. What he shows me is always perfectly suited to my question, and a better, more satisfying answer than I expected.
Peace of Mind in an Unstable World
Here's an example. One day, my schedule, deadlines, and obligations were crawling up my neck and tightening their hold. You know that feeling when you're so overwhelmed, you don't know what to do first? So I got out a piece of paper and pen, and asked God: "Just tell me what you want me to do, and I'll do it. I then opened my Bible and immediately read where Jesus was talking with a man who was blind.
Jesus was asking him, "What do you want me to do for you?
Jesus'Teachings on Value
I read it again. Jesus asked: "What do you want me to do for you? This, I have found, is characteristic of God. Reminding us that he is there. That he cares, and he's capable. I choose that example because it's brief. But I could cite hundreds of examples where I was asking God a question and he perfectly, thoroughly answered me.
Learn to Value What God Values
It probably is the characteristic of God that I most appreciate and value--that he is willing to answer my questions. This isn't something I learned from other Christians. It's just how my relationship with God operates. I ask a question, with an attitude that I really want to give him freedom to tell me whatever he wants to And he always graciously speaks to me.
Similarly, when I need direction for a decision, he gives it. I believe that God cares about our decisions. I believe he has a plan for our lives, that he cares about who I marry, what kind of job I have, and some decisions smaller than that. I don't believe he cares what toothpaste I buy, or lots of mundane decisions. But decisions that will affect my life or what he wants to accomplish through my life I think he cares. One time I needed to decide about a trip to the Middle East.
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There was risk involved, and I was willing to go only if God wanted me to go. It was important to me that I knew what he wanted. Two different times I asked God about a job. Both times his leading on it was so clear, that anyone watching would have concluded the same.
Let me try one thin slice of an example. During my senior year of college, I had decided to take a job with a Christian organization after graduation, that would require a move to California.
The God of the Foxholes
It was Christmas break, and I was now visiting my parents. One evening, I was alone and thinking through a long list of friends. I was wondering who I could talk into moving to California with me to be roommates. One person named Christy, came to mind, who had already graduated and settled in a job in Iowa. I thought she'd be the perfect roommate, but I hadn't talked to her in several months.
Just 30 minutes later, at my parents home, Christy calls me on the phone. Her first sentence was, "I heard you are taking a job with this Christian organization. Her next statement was, "Ok, I've got the pots and pans and dishes. You might ask, why such a big deal, to even need God's help in this decision? I knew that my parents would be completely opposed to this job.
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I thought it might cost me my relationship with my parents forever. So it was not a light decision. I asked God to guide me toward what he wanted. And he did. There were about ten other events related to this job, just as clear. In terms of explanations about life--why we're here, what the purpose is, what is important in life, what to value or strive for--God has better answers than anything I've ever read anywhere.
I have studied multiple philosophies and religions and other life approaches. What I read in the Bible, what I see from God's perspective, all the pieces of the puzzle fit. There is still a lot I'll read in the Bible and close the Bible saying, "I don't get it.