Tempest Seas

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Just kidding!  But in all honesty, this is not going to be a formal regurgitation of groupthink.  These are the thoughts of my mind written with love and conviction, simply addressing a series of questions I hear more and more often.  These questions surround an underlying theme, which we will address toward the end of this writing.

 Why God?  Why faith?  Why Christianity?

If you’ve been a Christian for any period of time, you are used to skepticism surrounding your beliefs.  However, I am hoping and praying that God is causing people who are not Christians to read this.  If that’s you – thanks for reading!! :)  I will make this blog post worth your time.  What I am expressing is going to be an elementary version of the full magnitude of my beliefs, but it should be enough to where you can understand me without getting too “in the weeds”.

Here are the answers from my perspective:

1. Why God?

Or more fully expressed, “Why do you believe in God?” Usually this question comes from a viewpoint of disbelief in God.  Essentially, the question is “Why not atheism?”  Or in a similar vein, “Why not agnosticism?”  That’s a great question!  How do I really know God exists, and how do I believe that I can personally know Him?  Here's my story... When I was 10 years old, I was in a very dark time in life.  I could not see any hope for a better future, and I did not want to live to prove myself right.  That may sound dramatic for a 10 year old, but frankly my 10 year old self experienced things most people experience long into their adulthood.  My life was a warzone.  I was very young when I understood that my emotional state, financial situation, and ability to have good relationships were all uphill battles.  And I did not see a light at the end of the tunnel.  As I sat on my bedroom floor, contemplating if life was worth living and taking actions I now regret deeply, I felt the tangible presence of God for the first time. God said to me, “I love you,” and the way He said love was far beyond any word I’d heard before.  It was not the way humans oftentimes say love, as in “I’ll love you for a while” or “I’ll love you while I need you”.  It was a holistic love.  I believed Him, and started following His leading since that very day.  Years later, I can still say that God speaks to me daily in inaudible ways, guiding my moves, telling me He loves me, and raising me to be the adult woman which He created me to be.

Do I know He exists?  More than I know of my own existence. Do I believe that I can personally know Him?  More than I believe I know any human.

 2. Why faith?

I get this question a lot: “Why do you have faith?”  As you now know, I have believed in God since I was 10 years old.  I didn’t realize it as a youngster, but I began using my faith since day one.  While I was still drowning in a pool of misery and depression, I knew God wanted me to have faith that He would rescue me.  At 10 years old, I began using faith to believe:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29

Can you imagine what that felt like for me as a frightened little girl to know that this all-loving God had a real plan for my life??  The relief in my soul was one I cannot suitably describe.  In the best metaphor I can concoct:  After a late August run in the blistering Louisiana heat and suppressing humidity, God's love was an ice cold bottle of Glacier Freeze Gatorade.

To the question, “Why do I have faith?” I must respond that without faith, I would still be living in depression or not living at all.  God used my faith on many occasions to get me out of dire situations.  And outside of the extreme instances, God uses my faith daily to inspire my thoughts, prayers, and actions.

3. Why Christianity?

This is actually two groups of questions, which can be answered in one statement. The first group is:  “Why not Islam?  Why not mysticism?  Why not all religions lead to one God?  Why not Hinduism?”  The second is, “What makes your belief any more true than anyone else’s?”  The answer for both questions lies in the root word of Christianity: ChristChristianity is belief in accessing God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

But in today’s reality, Christianity can look way different than that, and I apologize for anything I have done to contribute to it.  If you aren’t a Christian, you probably have a very different idea of Christianity.  I can just imagine what we look like to “outsiders”.  You probably think of Christians as people who attend church every week (sometimes multiple times if they’re real losers).  They ask for forgiveness for their sins and then judge anyone who sins.  They like factions and like to argue with each other about petty things like whether Christians should dance or refrain, drink blessed wine or unblessed grape juice, be baptized in adulthood or sprinkled at birth, etc.  They wear a cross necklace, have cross tattoos, a cross bumper sticker…and then cut you off in traffic.  They say conflicting things like “God is in control” on sunny days (pay day), and say “Satan is attacking me” on bad days (the other 30 days of the month).  They claim to serve a good, loving God and some of them don’t act good or loving.  On behalf of all Christians, I apologize for convoluting a simple message of GOD LOVES YOU with all of these religiosities.

That’s not why I am a Christian, and I would like to clearly and simply explain the real why.  The reason why I am a Christian and why anyone chooses to believe in Christ and obey His teachings is because of Jesus.  That’s it.  That’s all.  Nothing more complex that flowery arrangements of words can explain any better.  Jesus is why Christianity.  Since I began following God, I have been led to the Bible as the infallible Word of God.  (It is infallible – you will never, ever find an error in it.)   The Bible says that Jesus is God’s only Son, and His life was lived without sin, and He paid for my wrongs thousands of years ago on a brutal, bloody cross so that I no longer have the guilt and addiction of sin.  I now live in freedom.

You know, even if you don't believe in Jesus.  I bet you could not hold a wrong against Him.  Jesus lived a life of sacrifice for His fellow man, a life of equal love for the best people in society and outcasts, a life of humility.  He lived the perfect life - not in the sense we think of a celebrity having the perfect life, but the life we all wish we could imitate.  The kind of person we pretend to be at Thanksgiving dinner ;)  Jesus was the ultimate example of being gracious.  In John 7, when a group of people brought a harlot to Jesus and tried to convince Jesus to condemn her, He responded, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”  And one by one, the men all left...no stones thrown.  Wow!  Can you imagine the relief that the woman felt, knowing that in one moment her life was over, and the next moment...Jesus!  What grace, beautiful grace!!! 

Why Christianity?  Because Jesus.

Why God? Why faith?  Why Christianity?

Because Jesus.  Who He was, what He stood for, and what He would fall for…to save you and me and every person who would ever come to be.

The problem with this simple answer is that it doesn’t resolve all the questions and echoes of naysayers. “What about all the other religions?”  “What about the Christian crusades?”  “What about the Christians I know who are just as bad as me?”  This is what we country-type people call putting the horse before the cart.  The problem with this approach is in trying to answer all of the peripheral questions before answering the most important question: What about your soul?  Do you find fulfillment and purpose in existence, joy beyond comprehension, true peace in the restless waters of your soul in anything else?  For me, it was not worth delaying my belief in Jesus.  Sure, I could have been a rebel rouser for several decades and finally gotten serious about my beliefs when I started feeling aged, sensing death was lurking.  But what else has ever calmed the storm in my soul?  Nothing outside of Jesus.  Nothing!

Tempest

"Sometimes the Lord rides out the storm with us, and other times He calms the restless sea around us. Most of all, He calms the storm inside us in our deepest inner soul." -Lloyd John Ogilvie

That is why I know God exists more than I know my own existence and I undoubtedly believe we can all know Him on an intimate level.  As the Psalmist says:

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in his temple.  For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” ~Psalm 27

This writing is an open address to questions like “Why do you believe in Jesus?”  I wanted to address these questions to anyone with listening ears.  If you want to know more, I would be thrilled  to have a conversation with you!  Please call me, tweet me, email me, text me, or comment below.  And if this was a worthwhile blog post, please share it with someone who needs to know why.

With love, PriskaTabitha