Confession 346: Seeing is Not Believing

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now ,you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter 1:9

I remember a conversation with my oldest son when he was about three.  He was asking me about God and Jesus, trying to wrap his brain around these great big concepts most adults don’t understand.

“Where is God?” he asked.

“Everywhere,” I replied.

“I don’t see him,” he said.  “I see you.  I see the church.  But, I don’t see God.”

When I sit and consider my faith, it makes absolutely no sense.  The entire Christian religion is based on a story that sounds like it came straight from a sci-fi/fantasy novel.  A man claims to be the Son of God, is executed, and rises from the dead to save the world.  And yet, here we are, over 2,000 years later, still telling the story.

Why?  How is that possible?  Historians might point to the political and economic power and might of the Holy Roman Empire to explain the longevity of the Christian faith.  Both Protestant and Catholic churches have played important roles in world events, politics, and social reform movements over the past 2,000 plus years.

However, I don’t think the institution of the Church explains the lasting power of Christianity.  Faith in Christ is more intangible than that.  Faith in Christ comes from knowing, deep down in your soul, that this story, implausible though it seems,  is true.

There have been times in my life when reason has told me to cast off this faith.  It doesn’t make sense.  It can’t possibly be true.  There’s no evidence whatsoever to support it.

But I can’t.  And the reason I can’t cast off my belief is because I know the story is real.  I have seen God manifest in my life.  I feel his presence with me.  It’s not an emotion, but a true and living Spirit that is there, hovering over, around, and within me all at the same time.

I remember trying to explain this several years ago to some agnostic friends.  I was specifically sharing the experience of feeling God’s Spirit and presence in Sunday worship.  They had never experienced this before, as they felt church was pretty stale and meaningless in their country.  It seemed that they were almost wistful in their response, like they wanted that connection and presence in their lives .

The truth is, we can’t ever “prove” that our faith is valid.  It’s not a scientific hypothesis.  We either believe, or we don’t.  But my experiences with the risen Lord compel me to believe.  I have seen God work in my life.  I have heard him call my name.  I have been guided by his wisdom.  I have been comforted by his presence.  I have experienced his joy.

Jesus told the disciples that they believed because of what they had seen, but blessed are those who believe without seeing.  Seeing is not believing.  What is it that you believe?

Blessings and Peace,