Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day #7: Reasons to Believe

This is the last of a 7 part series on Reasons to Believe.  I finish up with telling you about my own journey of when choosing to believe became more important that finding Reasons to Believe.  I pray that this helps you in your journey . . .

I was about twelve years old when I really learned about Jesus.  I had always known the 'facts' about Him (Son of God, likes sheep, wears a robe, died on the cross . . .) but I was twelve when I responded to the call to "come follow me."  Well . . . as much as a 12 year old is able to . . .

Over the next several years I learned as much as I could before I went off to Penn State University where I double-majored in Religious Studies and Philosophy.

Now, as you might guess, Penn State is not exactly a Christian school, but that is why I loved it.  I was excited to learn from the perspective of those who were critical and skeptical.  And I did.  It was a daily battle with professors over the legitimacy of faith.  I am grateful for my unorthodox education but it was a very difficult struggle going through it.

In fact it came to a point in which I had to choose.   It was my Junior year and I had grown tired of the intellectual arguments back and forth.  Like a ping-pong match I would serve an evidence from archeology or a reason why we should trust the Bible.  It was never directly refuted but always returned with more questions.  As a young twenty-something it was hard to argue with people who could write in Greek.

So I remember coming back to my dorm room all alone around sunset.  I spent some time praying and eventually came to a point where I said to God, "I don't have anymore reasons to believe."  I had come to a point in which all my intellectual arguments about God, Jesus and the Bible hadn't gotten me any closer to God.

So I saw in front of me two paths:

One path embraces my intellect and gets rid of my faith.  

The other path embraces my faith and sheds my intellect.

Neither of them seemed desirable but I knew that I had to make a choice.  I was scared because I felt like I was making a decision that would impact the rest of my life.

After some more time praying and asking God to tell me what to do (nothing happened) I took a leap of faith.  Like from a high dive, I chose to believe.   I said, "God, I choose to believe in you even though I don't have a reason to."

As soon as I said these words I felt the strangest thing - like a warm hand on my shoulder - and then I heard these words:

"There, now we can begin."

So I don't know if it was audible or in my head and really it doesn't matter - something changed in me.  It was like the entire process of being broken down intellectually had gotten me to the point where I had to make a decision to follow Christ for no other reason than choice.  I wonder if up to that point I was following Jesus because of all the convincing intellectual arguments.  And really, that is not faith.

It was like God ripped away the core of my faith (which to that point was intellectual) and replaced it with a core that was based on my decision to believe.  That is really where all faith begins - the choice to trust . . . even when you don't have a good reason to.

And perhaps that is why you have gone through this time of questioning and doubt - so that your faith can be faith - without the props of your Reasons to Believe.

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