"Why do you believe?" A question posed just now on the page of a book I read through every year or so. A question posed on street corners, in coffee shops, living rooms, churches. Shouted by disbelieving offspring or parents or friends. Whispered in the night by one's own doubts.
"Why do you believe?" Hmmm.
I write this blog from (as Flannery O'Connor would put it) 'a standpoint of Christian orthodoxy.' That is, a foundation of certain faith, of belief granite strong. Based on the rock.
But there have been times, for me--and I assume, for most of us, to one extent or another--when, as I once said, I lived on an 'island of faith in a sea of doubt. Even then, there was that small rock island of faith. I've lived on such islands more than once. Or in deserts where faith seemed to blow away with the sand. But there's always, always been a core of presence within me. Since I was 14 years old. Because that's exactly when the Spirit came and made His dwelling within me, just as Jesus promised He would.
However, there was a season in my twenties when I consciously tried NOT to believe. I was hurt. Deeply hurt. I'd been certain I had heard God about my future and I was wrong. Wrong in a broken-to-my-core way. A long ways beyond broken hearted. So I decided to take a turn at going it alone. Without Him. I was like a little kid who scrunches her eyes closed in a brightly-lit room and pretends everything is black and everyone has disappeared, then tries to pretend she's blind.
It didn't work. That LIGHT kept squeezing in through the cracks. I couldn't keep from opening my eyes. No matter how hard I tried to keep them closed, my instinct was to look at the Light.
When I read this familiar question tonight, that year was what I thought of. I believe because I can't NOT, to use a double negative. I have to. I look around this world and am overwhelmed by His presence in it. I was caught in His grip and He's never let me go, even when I closed my eyes and tried to spin away. Because He knew me. He knows me. He knew that it wasn't what I thought He'd said that counts but what He did.
Of course I mishear Him at times. Of course He says no to me. Sometimes I hear what I want to hear. Sometimes I pray for things so silly, foolish, selfish or just plain wrong that He has no choice but to say no for my greater good--so that His will is done on earth (and in my life) exactly as it is in heaven.
When it comes down to it, I believe for these reasons...and so many more:
"Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you..."
"The amazing proof of God's love is this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.'
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God...In Him was life and that life was the light of all people...The Word became flesh made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father, full of truth and grace."
"I AM that I AM..."
"In the beginning God..."
Why do you believe?