Why We Believe, Vol. 2

October 13, 2007, 1:00 pm; posted by
Filed under Featured, Steve, Testimonies  | 6 Comments

This and following weekends, we will share the brief salvation testimony of each Bweinh!tributor. Next in line is Steve.

I became a Christian at age 5, having discovered the appendix to my Billy Graham-sponsored children’s Bible, wherein the good pastor laid out the plan of salvation in what must have been a simple yet compelling way. I prayed the prayer he suggested, and then followed its further instruction to go tell my parents. I think Mom was cleaning the kitchen or taking care of baby Thomas at the time, but she was more than happy to go through everything with me again to make sure I understood.

But being intellectually more mature than I was spiritually, my early childhood was plagued by doubt. Was my experience real? Did the name I called my brother, even when he deserved it, place me back in danger of the fires of hell? I don’t know how many times I re-committed my life with a furtive midnight prayer, but it may top 100. I remember reading a devotion that said salvation was so much more than escaping hell; to me, it still seemed the most compelling and effective reason.

Soon I was old enough to deal with other concerns, the rocks that so frequently ruin the soil. For several years, Christian summer camp provided more persecution than edification. There and elsewhere, I closely observed hypocrisy, how man often rewards the godly appearance of evil hearts. So many things people said and did in church were lies, meant to gain praise or attention. People I respected abandoned their families, slipped into debauchery and drugs. What was left to trust?

Intellectually, I knew the answer, and I knew deep inside that man’s fall does not diminish God’s power.

And so I carried on. I found myself adrift after college, with no idea what to do next, flagging confidence that I was in His will, and decreasing faith of any type. One desperate night, I actually wrote a letter, to God, to myself, explaining my doubts, my concerns about the vagueness of prophecy, the insufficiency of personal experience, how most Christians rely on other men to hear and explain the voice of God.

Yet even at this lowest point, I held onto unshakable belief, in divine Creation and the Resurrection. I cannot look at this world and its intricacies, and believe it was the result of mere chance. I cannot consider the history of the early church and the power of Jesus’ teaching, and conclude that so many would forfeit everything for what they knew to be a lie.

I had no instant, miraculous response. I went to sleep and woke up the next day with the same thoughts on my mind. Since then, I have again come to feel much closer to God, but even if I hadn’t, He would be no less true.

We must know that faith is so much more than how we feel; we must be able to explain what we believe, why we believe, in terms more substantive than “I just know it’s right.” In a world with so many competing beliefs and religions, how Jesus makes us feel is not what makes us — or Him — unique.

It’s what He did, and even more, what He’s still doing.


Comments

6 Comments to “Why We Believe, Vol. 2”

  1. Jesse on October 13th, 2007 6:49 pm

    Steve,

    I really appreciated this post. It makes my own doubts easier to deal with. I don’t know whether you’re doubts were ever at the same level of “doubtness” but it still gives me encouragement that I am not alone. So thank you for sharing that with us, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who will appreciate it.

  2. Jesse on October 13th, 2007 7:03 pm

    P.S. The resurrection is the one thing that keeps me holding on no matter what else crosses my mind, even more so than creation. I can more easily believe in random creation than I could believe that SOMETHING didn’t happen that Sunday morning.

  3. Marcus on October 13th, 2007 8:56 pm

    It seems that doubt plays a very important role in the lives of many theists. We are called to use our mental faculties in our faith and to seek Truth daily. This is an up-hill battle. Doubt is inevitable for the intellect-driven Christian.

    Doubt is a vacuum spawned by our ignorance– a thirst which we quench through study, reflection, and dialogue.

    Doubt is the individual’s recognition that s/he does not, at that moment, have sufficient evidence & testimony to allay all uncertainties.

    Doubt forces us to search within ourselves or, more commonly, among our peers & betters for enlightenment, guidance, and reassurance.

    Doubt pushes us into the arms of a community–a community comprised of peers who have doubted and who likely will doubt again.

    In short, the “d word” is a powerful motivator and can lead to very positive results. Apathy and skepticism are the acceptance of doubt as an ontological crutch but momentary doubt is not a static hum but is rather the clearing of the throat which may precede a beautiful song.

    I am reminded of how Mother Teresa’s writings express moments of doubt and how these moments only add to her powerful faith. You’re in good company, Steve.

  4. Why We Believe: Vol. 4 : Bweinh! on November 3rd, 2007 3:53 pm

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  5. Why We Believe: Vol. 5 : Bweinh! on November 11th, 2007 5:20 pm

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  6. Why We Believe: Vol. 6 : Bweinh! on November 17th, 2007 9:53 am

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