Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Running Deep in Thought and Prayer

Today was a crazy cold run, 6 miles at 190. I know that's not so cold for some of you who live up north, but down here it's crazy cold.

I took it slow and easy today, partly because of the weather, partly because of this coming weekend's marathon, and partly for another more important reason.

Before I left to run this morning, I sat down at the computer and looked at Facebook. That's when a post from a friend revealed his doubt that God exists. From the time I read it, until I returned, it weighed heavy on my mind. And it wasn't just this one friend, but several others commenting on the thread on their varied levels of disbelief in Jesus Christ. I knew I needed to respond, but I had to think and pray for the right words.

So I ran a familiar route at a slower than normal pace, easing through the cold night, trying to think of how to respond. But the words didn't come. So I went to work and worked all day thinking about the same thing. How do I respond? When I left work, I still had no idea what I would say. We went to church and still I thought and prayed about how to respond. Back home from church and still nothing to write, no ideas at all. My mind was a total blank.

So finally I sat down and just prayed for God to guide me as I typed. And I began. The following is what I wrote, what God led my fingers to tap out in response. Please pray that this friend and others will read it and be swayed.
Be merciful to those who doubt ~ Jude 1:22

I've thought all day and prayed all day about what to say here. Not just to you, but to so many who don't believe in God. Still, as I sit down to respond, I have no prepared response. So I've decided to just let fly with whatever comes to mind as I type. So I'm praying that God will supply the words that you and others need, because I just don't have them.

First, we all have free will to believe or not to believe. It's my opinion that God gave us that free will. There's an old song that says something about if you love someone, you have to be willing to let it go. Kind of on the flip side, if you want to really know if someone loves you, you've got to be willing to let them go.

Those with power often force others to worship them, to bow and pay homage or any of dozens of other acts the powerful deem necessary to show submission by his subjects. God has that much power too. If He wanted, it is completely within His power to force us to bow to Him, to worship Him. But those who lead in this manner don't love their subjects, only themselves. God, though, not only loves us enough to give us free will, a free will that He knows will be turned against Him by some, but also to send His Son to die for our sins.

So you can choose not to believe, and you won't make me angry by doing so. I don't even believe you make God angry by making that choice. Instead, it makes me sad, and I believe it breaks God's heart.

You mentioned proof, that you just need proof. To me it sounds like, and please correct me if I'm wrong, you just don't believe faith is enough to accept that God exists, especially that He created the entire universe and did it as described in the Bible. It's my opinion that refusal to believe in God takes just as much, if not more, faith than it does to believe.

If we don't believe in God, it seems to me that we have to believe one of the scientific THEORIES on the origin of the universe or that something not yet dreamed up created all we see and all we know exists out there. Regardless which of those pegs you hang your hat on, a really hard objective investigation will take you to the same place: that everything came to be out of nothing.

Not one of those theories are proven anymore than God is proven. Because they all end up concluding that everything came from nothing, it's just as impossible to prove any one of them as it is to prove the existence of God. So even belief in any theory put forth by the scientific community on the origins of the universe eventually must be based on faith and not on proof.

So pretty much regardless what you believe, it's based on faith. Even belief in nothing, the belief that this life is all there is with no thought to the origins of anything is based on faith, because that certainly can't be proven either.

I saw mention of all the senseless deaths attributed to religion, but I saw nothing about all the good accomplished in God's name. I believe what's written in the book of James, chapter 1, that God is incapable of evil. But I know all too well that man is quite capable of evil, and even capable of committing evil while using God's name to justify the unjustifiable.

But the same way I can't hold a son accountable for the actions of his father, or a father for the actions of his son, I can't blame God for man's corruption of His plan. The Bible tells me to love God and love my neighbor and even to love my enemy. If I do less, it's not because God told me to. It's because I corrupted God's plan.

I'll close with this. All of my life I've believed in the existence of God and that Jesus Christ was His Son, sent here to die for us so that we can make it to Heaven. All my life I've believed that. But most of my life, I haven't lived in a way that pleased God. Most of my life, I lived like an unbeliever. I took from the Bible what I wanted and tried to use it to justify my beliefs. If something countered what I wanted or believed, I just ignored that part. That's how I lived the vast majority of my life.

It really wasn't until Amanda was killed that I had a change of heart. I didn't stop believing. In fact, Christ is the first place I turned. You see, I had spent all of my life to that point doing everything on my own. I never asked for anything. I never wanted to take anything from anyone. I never wanted to be indebted to anyone. Not even God. But when Amanda was killed, that night I knew I could no longer make it on my own.

I had fallen into a pit that I wish nobody else will ever have to become trapped in again. I've felt real physical pain more times than I can count. I've felt emotional and psychological pain too. But there is no pain that compares to losing a child. I would have gladly suffered anything else to bring her back. No death, no torture, no pain would be so bad that I'd refuse if it would bring my daughter back. But of course that's impossible.

The only way I made it this far, the only reason I could keep going, the only reason I'm not dead or in prison right now, is because of Jesus Christ. Without the hope offered through His promise of eternal life, there was no reason for me to keep living. There was no reason for me to let Amanda's killer live. There was no reason for me not to crawl inside a bottle and drink myself into a stupor. Without Jesus Christ, I would not be here today.

It's your choice to believe or not. It's your choice by God's own design. I hope you choose to believe. I'll be praying for you Hayden, and all the others here who doubt or don't believe.

God bless you my friends.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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