Paving the Path For Trusting God: Part 1

By and by, I feel the need to respond to secularists, atheists, and unbelievers whose questions scrutinize the Bible, its authenticity, and what it calls Christians to believe and live by. After so much skepticism, these people’s questions leave them baffled, silenced, confused, and bitter– their hearts malformed by cultural and societal misunderstandings, resenting the censure of a massive conglomeration seemingly tossing all their eggs into the basket with a dusty old book called the Bible. One of the most powerful questions–even for the Christian, is: Why should I trust God? You see, if we don’t trust God– the Source of all argument for theology, religion, morality, and faith–then we undermine those concepts altogether by claiming the Creator and Causality of such inquisition is scandalous, fake, and too ambiguous to be real, mighty, or supernatural. And if God isn’t who He claims to be– if He is not really with us today– then how can we trust Him with our lives

As a former atheist and current Christian, these questions are poignantly familiar to me, sinking right into home base with my history of disbelief years ago. The mystery of trusting the concept of a God was what instigated my departure from the Catholic church at age 11, when my parents divorced. After that, the mystery of trusting God became the seed for dark humor when I was about 14. The notion that God would do such horrible things–such as allow trauma, suffering, and death–did not match up with the type of loving God people seemed to profess that He was. How do you trust in a God who allows suffering and death? How do you trust in a God you can’t touch with your own hands—scream at while anticipating His reaction with heavy breathing and clenched fists? How do we come to try to understand this dilemma of the misunderstanding of God, and how He fits into the very relationship He calls us to be a part of? First, as I discovered, we must try to understand the context of God.

What is the space He lives in, and how does His presence and existence affect what is around Him? The Bible says God is love:

(1 John: 4:8) “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (italics mine)

The Bible gives an explicit example of the way He physically affects those around Him when anything of His true physical nature is revealed. When Moses came down the mountain after God had passed around Him– Moses’s face was literally glowing from exposure to seeing the backside of God (Exodus 33:18-34:9); not God’s face, no– His back. God warned Moses if he saw His face, He would die:

(Exodus 33:20) “But,” he said, “you cannot see my face. For no one may see me and live.”

If people would not survive witnessing God back in Moses’s day, surely they would not survive the experience today. Why is that? What is the nature of God? He is love. Then what is our nature–human natureWe are sinners.

How do we know we’re sinners? First, we have to define sin. The dictionary defines sin as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” One might think of “divine law” as represented by God’s ten commandments**, others might add that it refers to the Golden Rule (Mark 12:28-34). I refer to sin as the rebellion to, the transgression of, and the deliberate departure from– what God wants with us in our relationship with Him. Rebelling against His love is to resist it, living apart from its blessings.

When we don’t accept His love, many times that can be as simple as not thanking Him for the blessings in our lives (food, apartment/house, job, friends/family, etc.), and likely taking them for granted, rather than lifting them up with thanksgiving and gratefulness. We have a tendency to sometimes assume what we get in life, we just get, without recognizing them as blessings. Even the secularist must admit, however, that finding that random samaritan willing to help fix a flat tire is less likely to be someone who doesn’t believe in random, selfless acts of kindness without getting something in return. People hardly extend themselves without a scoff, sigh, or moan when their desire to do the deed derives their own esteem, or their own conditional supply of grace. Those who extend themselves with a smile on their face have a Source which they pull from, and this Source derives from faith in something bigger than themselves. For many, it’s the karmic belief in what comes around goes around. Others, holding to a more eternal perspective, understand loving others is their way of loving the Creator of existence, time, space, purpose, love, and reason; they extend themselves from the reservoir of faith in that Creator, knowing that He bestows His gift of love on them constantly; in turn, their response is incorrigibly the desire to share that gift with others, which just so happens to be expressed in the form of the contagious attitude reminiscent of the character of Jesus: joyful, graceful, and unconditional.   

**(The Ten Commandments are a set of guidelines meant to help us stay intimately close with God, and in harmony with one another. Many unbelievers regard the ten commandments acrimoniously with repulsion and bitterness. Perhaps the commandments feel like an unnecessary scolding for choices and lifestyles we view as innocuous. The rules of the commandments, for many, don’t seem have any basis other than inconvenience. The question then becomes: Is convenience the way to God? Secondly, if we can explain the difference between our incomplete understanding of the need for the ten commandments, and the reason for which they were originally given–we may come to grasp the truth that the ten commandments are really just lifestyle principles God requested us to instill in our lives in order for us live more fully, not just indulgently. The question which may then arise is: Do we want to be close to a God who wants to feel close to us by providing a fuller life?)

When we resist His love, we are saying one or more of these:

  1. I don’t believe in His love
  2. I don’t need His love
  3. I don’t want His love
  4. I don’t deserve His love
  5. I can’t live up to His love

Resisting what God wants for us–as a fuller life–is to claim we believe God’s intentions are not aligned with the best version of what our life could be, and instead, wresting the control of our futures out from His hands, not seeking His help or involvement. If we can understand this as the reason for the mistake of missing out on our best life, then we can understand the waste and nuisance of denying the power of God, capable and willing to create the entire cosmos for our benefit. But, for those who adhere to denial, God continually reaches out with His love, hoping we’ll surrender our resistance and choose to see His intentions as they are; authentic and rooted in love.

How can the human race put trust in a God we can’t see with our physical eyes, nor touch with our hands? How do we know when or if He hears us–or if He does or doesn’t want to respond when we ask Him a question–or how He feels when we cry out to Him in frustration? Something critical to understand about our relationship to God is the significance of the differentiation between the way we need God, and the way God doesn’t need us. It’s the most beautiful dichotomy really, because God speaks and acts through what could be just as arbitrary to Him as choosing what color underwear to put on is to us: He chooses to love a species which cannot give Him anything other than praise and worship–because He is love. Do you follow me on that train of thought? God is love–meaning–He doesn’t have a limited amount of love to distribute in specific amounts to each component of creation He makes, careful not to run out—no, He IS love, so He has an infinite supply to give from. There are no bounds, no lengths, no limits– no measurements to God’s love. We could never fit God’s love into a math equation because it would break every rule in the book. God’s love is unlimited, permanent, and forever; powerful, unshakeable, incorrigible, and it’s a decision He’s already decided on.

Is it harder or easier to trust in a God, who, despite not needing us for anything–loves us more than all of creation? Does the truth of this explanation change anything in your heart, or help you see God’s love in a different light? God’s love isn’t just comprised of some words in the Bible, His love is real and–yes–tangible. Perhaps not from his hands or arms themselves–but through others; through nature, and through circumstances— God loves us constantly

In Part 2, I will touch on ways we can see God’s love for us through creation, how we can tie that back to trusting in Him, and I will close with an example from my personal life; an explicit example of God’s love for me in my life, and, consequently—proof of God’s for us as a species.

For now, I want to leave you with some questions to ponder for the sake of your own faith journey and spiritual life. When you think of God, how do you feel? Do you feel judgment, disappointment, and frustration? Do you feel as though God only comes to you or answers you when you’re “performing well”? How do you feel God sees you as His child? How do you define the concept of God’s love in your life today, and what prevents His love from making more sense to you than it does right now? What would have to happen to cause you to consider the possibility that God loves you more than you can imagine, and that He wants you to accept that gift and let it transform your life? What is your response to an invitation like that?

May God bless you as you look inside yourself to discover these answers, growing towards freedom from confusion and the entanglement of the lies of the world and the enemy. I’ll see you in Part 2! 

Trust

Author: Lance Price Blog 2017

Something I’ve loved to do since I was in High School is write. What starting off as as merely poetry transitioned into a more serious passion. Now, as a blogger, I want my writing to help people understand themselves, others, and Jesus in fresh ways that maybe they hadn’t understood before. My sincerest hope is that my writing will be an inspiration, and a means of encouragement for those who are going through a hard time—whether it be related to trauma, spiritual crisis, or an issue regarding family/divorce and relationships. I also mean for my articles to act as a boost of confidence for those who are already riding the waves of optimism, joy, and hope. You'll also notice my new "Movie Reviews" page, which will be made up of my movie critiques. Though these are not the same as my blog posts in the sense that they are not Jesus-based but movie-based, I will still review films from an open-minded Christian standpoint. Above all else, as a Christ follower, I hope my faith will permeate the words of my articles and encourage others to follow the Lord of salvation, love, grace, mercy, empowerment, forgiveness, and eternal life. I hope the very best comes from reading what I write and that these goals are met through the hearts of readers being challenged and changed for the best. Thank you for reading!

7 thoughts on “Paving the Path For Trusting God: Part 1”

  1. I appreciate your response. I think you misread what I wrote. If you continue to read the context of that paragraph, what you may understand is that what I was trying to say (and that which I’m now added to the post), is that one must acknowledge God’s existence in order to believe in the possibility that anything we receive could come from Him. If we don’t believe in God, how can we accept something from Him? Denying His existence says there’s no one to receive the gift from to begin with. Does that make sense?
    I apologize for the miscommunication of the text there, because I’ve gone and added in the missing piece which hopefully clarifies the intention of what I meant to get across. Not AT ALL was I trying to speak towards anyone’s “deserving” anything from God. I was addressing one must acknowledge He exists to recognize the gift is from Him, and not from another source. I hope this answers your concern.

    Like

    1. You are correct, I made an error where I meant to write “receive”, and I wrote “deserve” by accident. And again, I appreciated your addressing that so that I could fix it and write what I meant to say.
      Since I am a Christian, I believe everything from the breath in my lungs and the food I eat to the job I have and the relationships I am a part of to be gifts directly from God, Himself. If you don’t see your life that way, that is your point of view. I respect the differences.
      Lastly, and again, I will only say this one last time—if you continue to write disrespectfully about God, I will not respond to your messages anymore. I am trying to help you see things from a different perspective, not to convert you. If you refuse to even see things open-mindedly, then I have no purpose in sharing my thoughts with you. Furthermore, if you continue to lambaste me, my work, or my faith, unlike the way I have done for you, I will delete your comments. These are not kind or helpful, nor are they anymore relevant about the post for which they reference. If you don’t like reading my posts, then read someone else’s. Please stop the disrespect. I fixed the wording errors which began your first comment to me, and now I don’t see any reason for such adamant backlash.

      Like

  2. Also, I want to add that I do not believe God has created humanity for the sole purpose of not choosing them. According to the Bible, God’s chosen people are the Israelites. But the Bible clearly says that if we believe in Jesus with our heart and confess that truth with our mouth, we will be saved. That means, not only the Israelites have hope in Christ–we ALL have hope in Christ. You do as well if you accept Jesus’ love into your heart– I fully believe that. I think your misinterpretation of what I meant to write caused you to be angry, and rightly so, especially if my words HAD meant “you only deserve good things if you believe in God.” But that is not AT ALL what I believe. Again, thank you for bringing that to my attention so that I could address it, and I’m sorry you have such strong feelings against Christianity. I believe in loving others the way God loves me, and though it’s hard to do that because I’m human, that is what Jesus calls me to do. But my message here is not whether or not anyone deserves anything based on their beliefs; my message is that you need to acknowledge Him in order to acknowledge WHAT you received is of God and not of the world, or karma, etc. Again, I truly hope this helps makes sense of what I wrote. Feel free to comment if you have any other concerns or thoughts you’d like to share. I’m glad to address those as well.

    Like

  3. I’m sorry for not having put all of this into one single comment back in response to you. There is one last part of your comment that I felt compelled to respond to.
    When you write, “A moral God, a God worthy of being named God, would find a way to save people that did not involve blood sacrifice of people. A moral God would find a way to save more people. He would convert everyone on the planet if he just showed up one day.” First off, God did not sacrifice the blood of “people”; Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice (singular) out of His own choosing. Also, you make these claims about a “moral God”, but, in doing so, you undermine the concept of free will, which is also a gift from God, alike the gift of love through Jesus. If God just “converted everyone”, wouldn’t that be coercion? Is free will not one of the sole distinguishing factors separating the human race from animals, apart from morality itself, as well as theology? If you’re saying God would only be a moral God if He converted everyone, would that not contradict the very message of love I write about in this post? How would converting everyone by force be a gift of love if we were not given the choice to choose to love Him back? Would you be able to explain that for me?

    Like

    1. You make several points in your comment, all of which I will do my best to address with tact, honesty, and the intention to help you understand something outside of your perspective.
      First, you say there is no difference between the Aztecs and Jesus dying mainly for the reason being that they both did so voluntarily. One difference is that the Aztecs did not claim to be the Son of God, or God Incarnate: Jesus did. Another truth is that Jesus performed miracles in front of crowds who witnessed God’s power work through Him; what miracles did the Aztecs prove— and if any— to whom did they direct the credit of that power? Jesus always directed the attention back to the “Abba Father” in Heaven; His Father and our Father. That is a drastic difference. Lastly, Jesus rose from the dead and was witnessed as alive and real by more than 500 people for 40 days after His resurrection. Surely, if you read the entire Bible, as you claim to have, you could not have missed these facts, and they all claim substantial differences between Jesus’ death on the cross, and the Aztecs dying willingly. Did the temple veil get torn in two when the Aztecs were murdered, automatically symbolizing the closing of the gap (caused by sin) between humanity and God? These are differences that change the story of Jesus’ death by substantial measures.

      The free will God gives to humans is a choice to love Him back, or not to. If we choose not to, what is our reason to love people? What is our reason to love our enemies and do good to people who harm us? Free will distinguishes us in the sense that we can choose God’s love over the world’s lies every day through choosing to follow Christ. If humans choose is not worship God and to love others in response to that love, that is a choice by those people. If we don’t worship God, what happens? We just live atheistically or in nihilism and make up our own reason to exist. How would that life be loving or selfless? What is life without purpose—and furthermore, what is purpose without God? What reason do we have to live if we believe there is no God to return to when we pass on from this life? What inspires us into tomorrow, if not our hope in being with a loving God one day? The only suffering we experience is choosing to live a life voided of a love that no human possesses. Humans love when they feel like loving, or when they feel loved enough by another to be able to extend more love from themselves. The love of God never ceases, surrenders, or stops. That is unconditional love, and only God possesses the most organic form of this because He is the Source of all love. Is suffering not the “state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship”? Do we not suffer more withOUT the belief in something beyond ourselves? Does suffering not entail us to try to solve life’s most challenging questions by providing answers we can’t explain, or with evidence lacking a theological point of view? How do we even define purpose if God doesn’t give us one? How do we even exist without His breath of life coming in our lungs every second? If it’s “worship or suffer,” then you must be under the impression that life is perfect without God: you must never get sick, never get old, never grow tired, weary, or sad; never feel alone, and never experience any form of pain. Because without God, there is no one and nothing to validate the reasons for those experiences, or help us to achieve the hope in something greater and better than those experiences. With God, there is a hope for every single second of suffering, and a reason for every adversity.

      YOU would grow back people’s missing limbs? YOU could ease suffering with a single word? That sounds like the claim of sorcery to me. No one possesses the power to heal beyond the authority of Christ.

      You claim the Christian God is blood-thirsty—and simultaneously you claim that the Bible you say you’ve read proves there is no God. You just contradicted yourself, no?
      But to meet you in your place in this conversation—then truly, if you believe God is so evil, then who is the Devil? If you believe in the Devil, you MUST believe in God, because who would the Devil be withOUT God to fight against, to resist—to influence people away from God’s love? If God is so evil, then there must be another being who holds the opposite power; and if that is not God, then who is it? You must have some clear idea of how there isn’t a God and yet there is so much evil in this world, but you are unable to explain that as of yet. Furthermore, you did not answer my question: Does God coming down and converting everyone not undermine the radical difference between choice and force? If God is so evil, wouldn’t He NOT have provided any choice? And if He is indeed as loving as I claim that He is, why would He NOT choose to give us a choice to love Him, or not to—unless He was actually evil? Is it a loving act to FORCE someone to love you? If that is what you believe, then I pity your perspective of love, because having to force others to love us is very disappointing and unfulfilling, and incomplete. If someone or something does not come back when we let them go, they were never ours to begin with. God does not make us love Him, and yet He is there if we decide to choose Him. The Devil, as far as from the Bible I read—does not want to give us a choice; he wants us to hate each other and ourselves by means of indulgence, fear, and insecurity. He will do whatever it takes to turn us against ourselves. There cannot be a Devil without a God who opposes the other’s intention.
      There can be no evil on this Earth without love to show the contrast; the difference between what makes love love, and what makes hate— evil. If God is evil, then who is the one who loves? How do you even know how to love others if you don’t know where love comes from (What IS love if there is no God?)?
      I hope these questions help you in your train of thought.
      From now on, I ask that you please stop mocking the God I appreciate and admire, and only respond with your concerns, respectfully. Your disrespect towards me is fine by me, I’m not offended. But the way you write with such disrespect to God—that offends me. If you wish to continue this conversation, I ask that you would respect the faith you speak of, even if you don’t agree with it. I’m not asking you to agree with me, but I’m asking you to show more respect towards this conversation. I have done my best to be as kind and as honest as I can be with you, I would ask that you do the same.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s