“you actually believe that?”: two points on faith

sometimes i catch myself thinking, “there’s no way anyone in their right mind could actually believe this stuff…” there are many things in His Word that are simply hard for me to believe. there’s no way around it. i don’t think that’s sacreligous. at least i hope not.

but i can certainly remember a time where i thought that the only people who actually believed everything in the Bible were either (1) taking crazy pills, or (2) just naive. i mean, come on, God actually came down here to earth, as a baby, from a virgin birth? and then He never sinned? ever?! but wait, that’s not even the worst of it. after dying a very real death, he rose back to life, wandered around, ate and drank with people, and then went back up to heaven? and that’s not even mentioning all the OT stuff about people living in whales for days, the flood and all of that. i honestly thought that no intelligent person could actually believe this stuff. even though, deep down, i wanted to.

during a recent conversation, a friend said, “i wouldn’t believe in this if i didn’t believe it.” it was quite the yogi berra statement, but it really hit home. it’s reassuring to know that someone in their right mind – because, of course, i could be crazy and believe this stuff, without actually realizing the depth of my craziness, but i know this guy, and he’s certainly not crazy – not only believes God’s Word is true, but acknowledges the fact that it often seems absurd.

i heard another quote recently along the same theme that resonated with me and i’ve been chewing on it ever since. it was from a man by the name of W.H. Howden, who was, apparently, a pretty devout atheist for some time. from what i understand, he later came to the faith and was questioned by a non-believing friend as to how he could possibly believe in the Gospel. here’s what he had to say:

“I believe in Jesus because He fulfills none of my dreams because He is in every respect the opposite of what He would be if I could have made Him in my own image. I read the New Testament and realized that this is a savior no one would have made up. He contradicts what I want. He defies my expectations at every place. He is in every respect the opposite of what He would be if I had made Him in my own image and therefore – he’s real!”

i can’t remember exactly when the God of The Bible went from being a story to a real, personal, live, soverign Savior to me, but i think it was more of a change in my heart than in my mind. something i just kind of came to know was true.

there’s a lot of stuff i don’t fully understand (including things of The Bible – how He could love a sinner like me, how a virgin could give birth, how His righteousness is imparted to us on the cross, and many other things), but that didn’t stop me from pursuing Him. what i found was that as i pursued Him more, as i turned over all my doubts to Him, all my questions, they soon became less and less important compared to what i found in Him.

maybe that doesn’t work for everyone, but that was my experience. i hope, though, that by hearing this, others will open the door of their hearts an inch or two and let the light of Christ shine in. if faith in an all-loving God, a God that is only light and no darkness, if faith that i will someday be able to be in His presence, and that that alone will be the single greatest experience that i could ever imagine, then i am the crazy one.

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