Saturday, December 20, 2008

In Defense of Faith

A few days ago, I was involved in a discussion when I mentioned my faith in God. Immediately, three of the people in the discussion thought of me less as a semi-rational human being capable of stringing together at least two thoughts and more like a snake-handling, science-hating, semi-troglodytic cretin (which I am, but only on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.) One even said, and I quote, “You’re not scientifically minded.” If he knew how little I dated in high school, he might not have made that statement.

As it often does, this conversation made me think about why I believe. The best place to start on that subject is to see where I've been. There was a time in my life when I very easily could have been the person mocking the Christian, and I'm not proud of that because my lack of faith at the time was borne out of raw negative emotions. As a teenager, I saw people who I felt had strayed from God's Word getting more than they deserved, while I languished in a state of emotional abuse from my peers at school. To my teenaged mind, that wasn't the sign of a loving God, so I left the church. I figured (incorrectly) that God would make things easier on me because I believed, but when that didn't happen, I saw it as a betrayal. For the next 15 years, I was in a state of disbelief over something I didn't understand.

As I got older, my resolve weakened a bit and I was willing to accept God in pieces. Instead of being the hardcore agnostic/athiest I was, I reasoned (again incorrectly) that God and I had an understanding. I would believe in Him on a limited basis and He wouldn't throw too much crap in my direction. But it was like trying to reason with cancer. I didn't know it at the time, but God was setting me up to believe again with a faith stronger than I could have ever imagined.

It was the day after Thanksgiving in 2005. I had taken a break from work and pulled up the Drudge Report on my computer. The top story at the time was about two people who got injured at a WalMart due to people rushing through the entrance to get extra special deals. I felt my heart sink as I read about a woman who had fallen and a young woman who had tried to help her and got stepped on in the process. How could a cheap DVD player be worth more than human decency?

Needless to say, that news story stuck with me throughout the day, leaving me feeling depressed and searching for answers. After discussing it with friends bore no fruit, I ventured into a chatroom that dealt with Christian faith. Someone in the room suggested prayer, and for the first time in a long time, I opened up my heart to God and asked for His help. After the "Amen," I was filled with a great warmth, happiness, and calm. I had come home.

Since then, my faith has been strong and has seen me through some rough times. But perhaps the greatest gift I've received is one of perspective. Insignificant things I used to rant and fret over, like elections and political parties, have become comically trivial because I understand now that God's will is always being done. It may not seem like it to us, but it is. That knowledge gives me an incredible amount of joy and the resolve to face the slings and arrows of those who have an active disdain for my faith for whatever reason. I have some thoughts on this that I may share at a later time, but really it's not that important. What matters ultimately is that I believe and that I glorify God with my life.

After walking in darkness for 20 years, my faith now is strong, and no amount of taunting from those who mock my faith will shake me. Not anymore.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.